Catalog Archive
Auction 102, Lot 559

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1450 (circa)

Publication: Book of Hours


4.2 x 5.6 inches
10.7 x 14.2 cm
Download High Resolution Image
(or just click on image to launch the Zoom viewer)

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 hand written in a regular Gothic book hand. Four initials are decorated with red and blue penwork on the verso and the recto includes only one verse with a beautifully historiated initial "D" with a flower inside it and gold leaf around it. The leaf was left blank for the later addition of a miniature of the Holy Ghost. Following is a translation of the hymn: The finger of God’s right hand, the ghostly virtue still: Us defend, and set us free from every kind of ill: To the end the hellish ghost do us no hurtful deed: Under his wings he us keep, and there us nurse and feed.


Condition: A

Stain in top margin.

Estimate: $140 - $180

Sold for: $140

Closed on 3/5/2003