Catalog Archive
Auction 100, Lot 516

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1430 (circa)



3 x 4.3 inches
7.6 x 10.9 cm
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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.

Beautiful vellum manuscript leaf with a superb miniature of the Visitation showing the pregnant Mary visiting her cousin Elizabeth who is also with child. The ladies are placed against a background with a town and some trees on the hillside. The painting is very fine and surrounded with borders illuminated on a ground of liquid gold with acanthus leaves and flowers painted in blue, yellow and red. The verse under the miniature begins with a beautiful initial "D" and reads: Deus in adiutorium meum intende. Domine ad adiuvandum me festina (God, come to my assistance. Lord, hasten to help me). The verso is finely written with several large initials and decorative line fillers.


Condition: A

Estimate: $2,000 - $2,300

Sold for: $1,400

Closed on 9/12/2002