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Belles Heures of Jean de France, duc de Berry, 1405–1408/9. Herman, Paul, and Jean de Limbourg (Franco-Netherlandish, active in France by 1399–1416). French; Made in Paris. Ink, tempera, and gold leaf on vellum; 9 3/8 x 6 5/8 in. (23.8 x 16.8 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Cloisters Collection, 1954 (54.1.1).
Text page, Folio 166r
This is a typical text page in the manuscript, with the writing in two columns of black ink set off by the occasional decorated letter to mark key passages. It is unusual in the context of the Belles Heures in that there is a minor visible flaw in the vellum, seen in the upper right margin. Variations in the animal’s skin from which the parchment was made could cause such flaws; in less luxurious manuscripts, there are often more serious flaws, including holes.
For more about the parchment used in medieval manuscripts, see “From Animal to Art: The Story of Parchment” in the Pen and Parchment special exhibition blog.