Catalog Archive
Auction 100, Lot 513

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1400 (circa)



5.3 x 6.9 inches
13.5 x 17.5 cm

Book of Hours were prayer books designed for the laity, but modeled on the Divine Office, a cycle of daily devotions, prayers and readings, performed by members of religious orders and the clergy. Its central text is the Hours of the Virgin. There are eight hours (times for prayer ): Matins, Lauds. Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers and Compline. During the Middle Ages, the leaves making up a Book of Hours were written by hand on expensive parchment and beautifully illuminated with jewel-like pigments and gold leaf. These illuminated manuscripts combined the collaborative efforts of an array of highly skilled craftspeople; requiring the joint labors of the parchmenter, professional scribes to write the text in Gothic script, artists to illuminate the pages with decorations, and masterful binders to complete the process.

A very fine vellum leave from a French Book of Hours with wide margins. Written in a fine Gothic bookhand with brown/black ink on neatly ruled red lines. Each side includes three illuminated initials and one or more decorative line fillers, all executed in red and blue and highlighted with white and burnished gold leaf. The text is from the Penitential Psalms. These songs were ascribed to King David, who composed them as a penance for his grievous sins and thereafter associated with the seven Deadly Sins - pride, covetousness, lust, envy, gluttony, anger and sloth. This text is part of Psalm 142: 10b (Psalm 143 in the King James version).


Condition: A

Minor soil in margins.

Estimate: $140 - $180

Sold for: $130

Closed on 9/12/2002