Catalog Archive
Auction 102, Lot 556

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1400 (circa)

Publication: Book of Hours


4 x 5.5 inches
10.2 x 14 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.

Fine vellum leaf from a French Book of Hours. It is part of the Hours of the Virgin, Lauds, Psalm 148. The verso is decorated with two small bunches of dainty flowers sprouting from a staff painted with a narrow strip of gold leaf. The flowers are in red, blue and green with golden leaves. Eleven decorative initials fill both sides.


Condition: A+

Estimate: $240 - $275

Sold for: $220

Closed on 3/5/2003