MS M.917/945, ff. 140v–141r

Israelites Eating the Passover Meal

The Netherlands, Utrecht
ca. 1440
7 1/2 x 5 1/8 inches (192 x 130 mm)

Purchased on the Belle da Costa Greene Fund with the assistance of the Fellows and with special assistance of Mrs. Frederick B. Adams, Sr., Mrs. Robert Charles, Mr. Laurens M. Hamilton, The Heineman Foundation, Mrs. Donald F. Hyde, Mrs. Jacob M. Kaplan, Mrs. John Kean, Mr. Paul Mellon, Mr. and Mrs. Charles F. Morgan, Mr. Lessing J. Rosenwald, Mr. and Mrs. August H. Schilling, Mrs. Herbert N. Straus, Mrs. Landon K. Thorne, Mrs. Alan Valentine, Mr. and Mrs. Arnold Whitridge, and Miss Julia P. Wightman, 1970

MS M.917/945, ff. 140v–141r

The rubric in the top margin, attributed to Isaiah, gives the title to the scene: "The Children of Israel with the Passover Lamb." Four Israelites stand around a table eating lamb and unleavened bread. At the upper left is the head of Isaiah, exhorting (in a quotation from his book, 52:11) cleanliness on the part of those bearing the vessels of the Lord. (His words might explain the woman with the pitcher in the left border.) The head on the right paraphrases Exodus (12:6) that "a young goat should be sacrificed to an assembly of the children of Israel." Two quotations in the side margins from 1 Corinthians (5:7 and 11:27) interpret the Passover lamb as Christ and warn against unworthy Communion.

Hours and Masses for the Seven Days of the Week

The most unusual texts in Catherine's manuscript are the series of Hours and Masses for every day of the week. Medieval Christian tradition associated certain figures or themes with different days. Thus Sunday, the day of the Resurrection, was the Lord's Day; Thursday was connected with the Eucharist since that sacrament was instituted on Holy Thursday; and Monday was the day of the dead, since their torments were suspended on Sunday but recommenced the following day. In Catherine's prayer book, the themes for the Hours and Masses of the seven days of the week are:

Sunday the Trinity
Monday the Dead
Tuesday the Holy Spirit
Wednesday All Saints
Thursday the Blessed Sacrament
Friday the Compassion of God
Saturday the Virgin.

Image courtesy of Faksimile Verlag Luzern