The Pabenham-Clifford Hours

Main artist


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The lustrous appearance of this bird can be appreciated in the magnified detail (20x) and is due to the presence of mosaic gold, revealed by the XRF analysis (Sn and S in the spectrum below).
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Detail of the brown ox under magnification (60x), showing small orange, brown and black pigment particles in a light-coloured matrix which appears to be organic. The XRF analysis (below) suggests the presence of red lead (Pb), earths (Fe, Si, Mn) and a copper pigment (Cu) added to an organic colourant (Ca, Al, K).
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Detail of God’s face under magnification (20x); light brown shading and red highlights are visible.
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Detail of Christ’s face and torso under magnification (7.5x). The Raman spectrum of the red drops of blood (below) shows the characteristic features of vermilion (bands at 257, 288 and 348 cm-1).
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Detail of the tooled gold background under magnification (7.5x), showing the incised lines and punched dots.
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This folio was coated with lead white, as shown by the high amount of lead (Pb) in the XRF spectrum of the parchment (above) and by the characteristic absorption bands of lead white at 1445 and 2322 nm visible in the FORS spectrum (below).

God the Father is seated on the Throne of Mercy, supporting the crucified Christ whose body hangs from a rough timber cross, as the white dove of the Holy Spirit descends. The green cross, painted with verdigris, alludes to the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden as described in Genesis. Eating the fruit of the Tree of Life guaranteed eternal life, a promise matched by Christ’s atoning death and resurrection, which, according to Christian theology, offered redemption and immortality to humanity. Symbols of the four evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, are depicted in the corners, and John de Pabenham and Joan Clifford kneel on either side of the throne.

A wide variety of brown colourants is present: an iron oxide pigment was used for the shading in God’s hair; mosaic gold for the brown eagle (hotspot 1); and a complex mixture for the ox (hotspot 2). Vermilion, used very sparingly in this manuscript, was employed for small details of the patrons’ robes, the highlights on God’s cheeks (hotspot 3) and the blood flowing from Christ’s wounds (hotspot 4).

The pink garments of God the Father show subtle use of shading to model the folds in three dimensions, with the pale pink ground colour forming the highlight area. The underdrawing of the draperies can be seen in the infrared image.

The burnished gold background has a tooled design consisting of repeat patterns of lozenges and foliate coils formed of incised lines and punched dots (hotspot 5). This is the only folio where the parchment has been coated with lead white (hotspot 6).