Auction 104, Lot 669

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1450 (circa)

Publication: Book of Hours


5 x 6.8 inches
12.7 x 17.3 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 wonderful vellum leaf from a French Book of Hours with splendid illumination on both sides. The three large initials are each painted on a background of burnished gold leaf with red, blue and white including small flowers within the initial. The margins are filled with large panels of acanthus leaves, berries and flowers in bright colors and gold leaf. The text, written in a fine gothic bookhand in black ink, is from the Suffrages of many Saints.


Condition: A+

Estimate: $550 - $650


Closed on 9/10/2003