Catalog Archive
Auction 100, Lot 515

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1425 (circa)



6.3 x 8.6 inches
16 x 21.8 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.

Splendid illuminated leaf from a Flemish Book of Hours. The wide margins are decorated with carnations and acanthus leaves in green, red, blue and sparkling gold leaf. Both sides are beautifully illuminated with initials (9) and line fillers (7). The text is from the Office of the Dead, Lauds; Psalm 50:9. This was a very important Hour for medieval man who was charged with the responsibility of easing his deceased relative's way through purgatory by reciting these prayers.


Condition: A

Small stain, repaired small hole, and two binding tears, all in margins and not affecting text or decorations.

Estimate: $550 - $650


Closed on 9/12/2002