Auction 103, Lot 581

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1400 (circa)

Publication: Book of Hours


2.7 x 3.7 inches
6.9 x 9.4 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 decorative thin vellum leaf from a small Book of Hours, written in the North of France. The recto is decorated with an initial illuminated by a very skilled scribe with tendrils of ivy leaves and flowers in red, blue and lots of gold. Verso contains a single illuminated line filler. The text is from the Office of the Dead, Matins, Job 10:8.


Condition: A

Estimate: $180 - $220

Sold for: $230

Closed on 6/11/2003