Maître de Bedford
Tempera, gold leaf and ink on vellum
11.3 x 7.9 cm
F. Cleveland Morgan Bequest, inv. 1962.1357
From the aesthetic point of view, the scene of the Annunciation has traditionally been the most desirable image in a Book of Hours. Here, the Virgin, in a gold-edged mantle whose folds fall majestically to the ground, is kneeling at her prayer stool, reading, with her hands on the
open book. The archangel Gabriel, on his knees, wearing a cloak adorned with gemstones, is announcing the words inscribed on the phylactery, Ave gratia plena d[omi]n[u]s tecum, his right hand pointing to a book shelved in the prayer stool and his other hand raised towards heaven. God is watching the scene from the upper left corner, and the Holy Spirit flutters above Mary’s head. The furniture consists of a cross-frame chair and shelves holding books, a candlestick and a ewer. The very elaborate border of vine and acanthus leaves features fleurets and a vase of red flowers.
After the completion of the illumination, an owner stamped his late-15th-century coat of arms under the border of the leaf.