Catalog Archive
Auction 101, Lot 529

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1450 (circa)

Publication: Book of Hours


4.3 x 5.9 inches
10.9 x 15 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 fine leaf from French Book of Hours written in a regular Gothic book hand. Four initials are decorated with red, blue and gold penwork on the verso and the recto is illuminated with a wonderful initial "C" enclosing a flower in burnished gold leaf. Extraordinary is the fact that the recto is almost empty (probably leaving space for a miniature of the Death of the Virgin and was never completed). The text is from the Hours of the Virgin, Compline.


Condition: A

Stain in top margin.

Estimate: $110 - $160

Sold for: $95

Closed on 12/4/2002