Les Enluminures

5. Obsecro Te and O Intemerata

attributed to the Master of Sir George Talbot

After celebrating the joys of the Virgin, the “Obsecro te” enumerates the sorrows she, as coredemptrix, experienced during the course of her Son's Passion and death. Thus the Lamentation--the anguishing climax of the Virgin's agonies--sometimes illustrates the prayer.

The borders of this opening make the miniature look like a giant panel set up in a private chapel. Arranged throughout the space are the instruments of the Passion: the lantern used at Christ's arrest, the crown of thorns and three nails, Judas's payment of silver coins, and so forth. Flemish illuminators in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries specialized in trompe-l'oeil borders, as the interiors appearing here. The miniatures and imaginative borders in this manuscript are possibly by the Master of Sir George Talbot, an artist who illuminated a prayer book for George Talbot, earl of Shrewsbury and Knight of the Garter, around 1500 (Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Gough Liturg. 7).