Auction 103, Lot 592

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1480 (circa)

Publication: Book of Hours


4.7 x 6.7 inches
11.9 x 17 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.

An extraordinary leaf from an Italian Book of Hours, written on thin vellum, near Ferrara, around 1480. The decorations of this leaf are of superb quality featuring intricate flowers and leaves flowing from the initials "D", and "C" that are finely illuminated in bright colors and gold leaf. In one of the flowers is a beautiful bird. The text is from the Gospel according to St. John, 18; the capture of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane.


Condition: A

Slight offsetting of paint in margin, else very fine.

Estimate: $700 - $800

Sold for: $700

Closed on 6/11/2003