Auction 103, Lot 584

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1450 (circa)

Publication: Book of Hours


2.5 x 3.2 inches
6.4 x 8.1 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 beautiful vellum leaf from a tiny Italian Book of Hours. The large initial "D" is decorated in many colors and burnished gold leaf with a flower inside the initial. The text is in a fine Renaissance letter type. The text is from the Hours of the Virgin, Prime.


Condition: A

Minor soil in margins. Some crazing of gold leaf and slight oxidation of paint.

Estimate: $140 - $180

Sold for: $190

Closed on 6/11/2003