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ID number:  BIRBI-69.6
Institution:  The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
Artist / Maker:  Master of the Boucicaut Hours (active c. 1404-15)
Title / Object name:  The Flight into Egypt
Object type:  Manuscript
Place made:  Europe: France, Île-de-France, Paris
Culture:  French
Date made:  1408
Materials:  Illuminated manuscript on vellum
Measurements:  17.8 x 13.2 cm
Provenance:  Purchased from Sotheby's, 24 June 1969, lot no. 58b, for £1,600 plus £40 commission to Agnews

A leaf from a dismembered book of hours executed in Paris in 1408, of which it was fol. 52 verso. The text, which continues from the recto, forms part of the Vespers of the Virgin. There is a full page version of the image in the autograph 'Boucicaut Hours' in the Musee Jacquemart-Andre, Paris. A number of other versions in the Master's style are known. With the infant Christ, the Virgin Mary and Joseph ride a donkey to Egypt to escape King Herod’s ‘massacre of the innocents’ in Bethlehem. This illumination is painted on a page (leaf) that originally formed part of a Book of Hours. In the medieval period, wealthy Christians commissioned books of prayers to guide their daily worship. The text accompanying the Holy Family’s plight is a prayer dedicated to the Virgin Mary known as the Vespers. Made in a workshop in Paris, the illumination’s bright hues of lapis-lazuli blue and luminous gold-leaf evoke the sparkling gemstones and opulent jewels held in the collections of the same wealthy elite that would have owned such books.

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