Catalog Archive
Auction 103, Lot 594

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1495 (circa)

Publication: Book of Hours


5.4 x 8.4 inches
13.7 x 21.3 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 wonderfully fresh, fine vellum leaf with wide margins from a French Book of Hours. Each side is beautifully decorated with panels of flowers and leaves in red, blue, green and gold leaf. The text is from the Hours of the Virgin, Matins, Psalm 45 and 86. The text is illuminated with numerous decorative initials and line fillers, all delicately painted with gold leaf.


Condition: A

Overall very fine. Small hole (flaw in vellum - not damage) in lower blank margin.

Estimate: $550 - $650

Sold for: $400

Closed on 6/11/2003