A Noblewoman in Prayer before the Virgin and Child
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Follower of the Egerton Master
French, Paris, about 1410
Tempera colors, gold leaf, and gold paint on parchment
7 1/2 x 5 1/2 in.

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A noblewoman kneels at the feet of the Virgin Mary and Christ, who are majestically seated on a large throne before her. The woman's ermine-lined gown and elaborate headdress indicate she is a member of the aristocracy. Her appearance here, and in a similar image later in the manuscript, suggests that she may have commissioned this luxurious book. Wealthy women were important patrons of manuscripts, particularly those used for private devotion, such as books of hours and psalters.

Although books of hours were written primarily in Latin in the early 1400s, they often included a prayer or two in the owner's native language. This image appears before a prayer to the Virgin written in French, which indicates the text had special devotional meaning for her and required careful reading.