Auction 103, Lot 588

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1450 (circa)

Publication: Book of Hours


3.5 x 4.8 inches
8.9 x 12.2 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 beautiful small vellum leaf from a French Book of Hours. The text is illuminated with six initials, many line fillers and border decorations with very life-like leaves between the acanthuses. The decorations are painted in several colors and two types of gold resulting in a particularly beautiful composition. The text is from the Hours of the Virgin, Lauds, Psalm 150:5.


Condition: A+

Estimate: $275 - $325

Sold for: $275

Closed on 6/11/2003