Auction 103, Lot 590

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1470 (circa)

Publication: Book of Hours


4.7 x 7.4 inches
11.9 x 18.8 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 rare and unusual vellum leaf from the calendar in a Book of Hours. Text in brown, blue, red and gold leaf. The recto includes a beautifully painted floral panel. The text incorporates the calendar for August and begins with an elaborate foliate initial with the letters KL for 'kalender'. Every Book of Hours started with a calendar to indicate which saints were to be invoked on a certain day.


Condition: A

Some minor soil in margins and a couple of minor creases.

Estimate: $350 - $400

Sold for: $325

Closed on 6/11/2003