Catalog Archive
Auction 103, Lot 591

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1480 (circa)

Publication: Book of Hours

Color: Hand Color

4.2 x 6.2 inches
10.7 x 15.7 cm
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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 magnificent leaf from a Book of Hours with a half page miniature of the Coronation of the Virgin. Within a border of gray clouds God the Father is depicted sitting on his throne with an angel placing the crown on Mary's head. The adoration of the Virgin began in the Middle Ages as she was seen as the ideal intermediator between man and Christ. The text below and on verso is from Psalm 12. It is illuminated with numerous initials delicately painted in red, blue and liquid gold. The margins surrounding the miniature are elaborately decorated with flowers and acanthus leaves in the same colors.


Condition: A

Old repair bottom corner blank margin.

Estimate: $2,100 - $2,300

Sold for: $1,600

Closed on 6/11/2003