Catalog Archive
Auction 100, Lot 520

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1450 (circa)



4.5 x 6.2 inches
11.4 x 15.7 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.

A very rare vellum leaf from an English Book of Hours. English manuscripts were often made in Paris or in Flanders and exported to England. This is the first page of the Hours of the Virgin, the heart of every Book of Hours. The text is in a very regular Gothic bookhand, surrounded by superb decorations of flowers and leaves in many colors and burnished gold leaf. The large initial "D" is very elaborate in white, mauve and blue on a background of gold leaf.


Condition: A

Estimate: $600 - $700

Sold for: $700

Closed on 9/12/2002