Auction 103, Lot 589

"[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 tiny vellum leaf from an Italian Book of Hours. The text is written in a fine Renaissance letter type and decorated with one initial with elaborate penwork in the margin. The text, Hours of the Virgin - Terce, is from the Psalms 119 and 120 (120 and 121 KJV).


Condition: A+

Estimate: $120 - $150

Sold for: $95

Closed on 6/11/2003