Catalog Archive
Auction 102, Lot 561

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1450 (circa)

Publication: Book of Hours


4 x 6 inches
10.2 x 15.2 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 leaf from a Book of Hours probably made in Flanders. It is part of the Hours of the Virgin, Compline, the last prayers of the day. The leaf is illuminated on both sides with 2 large initials, 9 small initials and 8 line fillers all in red, blue, white and gold leaf. The text is written in a very neat Gothic book hand in light brown ink, with 2 rubrics in red.


Condition: A

Estimate: $200 - $240

Sold for: $190

Closed on 3/5/2003