Auction 101, Lot 527

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1400 (circa)

Publication: Book of Hours


5.3 x 6.8 inches
13.5 x 17.3 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 leaf from a French Book of Hours. It is written in a Gothic bookhand with black/brown ink and decorated with several initials and line fillers in red, blue, white and 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 are associated with the seven Deadly Sins - pride, covetousness, lust, envy, gluttony, anger and sloth. David wrote Psalm 142 during his conflicts with his son Absalom, which David clearly saw as a punishment for his sins.


Condition: A+

Minor soil in top margins, still fine.

Estimate: $150 - $200

Sold for: $160

Closed on 12/4/2002