Catalog Archive
Auction 102, Lot 560

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1450 (circa)

Publication: Book of Hours


3.9 x 5.5 inches
9.9 x 14 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.

Splendid leaf from a French Book of Hours. In the margins of both sides are beautiful panels of flowers and acanthus leaves. The text is decorated with a total of 12 initials in red, blue, white and gold and some line fillers in the same colors. The text is written in a neat Gothic bookhand in black/brown ink. Following is a partial transcription, beginning with the sixth line on the recto: Be mindful, author of our salvation, That thou sometime didst take on thee Of a pure virgin being born, The form of our humanity. Mary that mother art of grace, Of mercy mother also art, Save and defend us from our foe. Receive us when we hence depart. Glory be unto thee, O Lord, That born was of the virgin pure, With the Father and the Holy Ghost. All ages ever to endure. Amen.


Condition: A+

Estimate: $275 - $325

Sold for: $350

Closed on 3/5/2003