Auction 104, Lot 663

"[Illuminated Leaves]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1250 (circa)



7.1 x 4.5 inches
18 x 11.4 cm

A Breviary is liturgical book used for the celebration of the Divine Office. All members of monastic orders and the clergy are committed to the daily recitation prayers, devotions and reading contained in the breviary. During the Middle Ages, the leaves making up a Breviary 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 in a laborious manner with handmade paints and gold leaf, and masterful binders to complete the process.

A double leaf from a Flemish Breviary that is over 750 years old. The vellum is quite sturdy as the booklet was meant to be carried by traveling monks in their daily activities. There is one large initial, illuminated in blue, mauve and burnish gold leaf, extending into the margin. Several simple smaller initials in blue and gold leaf embellish the other leaf. The text is from the Canticles of the Old Testament; the song of Hannah and the song of Moses after the passing of the Red Sea.


Condition: B

Overall age-toned with some surface soil.

Estimate: $275 - $325

Sold for: $170

Closed on 9/10/2003