Auction 104, Lot 679

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1480 (circa)

Publication: Book of Hours


4.7 x 6.8 inches
11.9 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 leaf from an Italian Book of Hours, written on vellum in the neighborhood of Ferrara. The decorations of this leaf are extraordinary with a beautifully illuminated initial O with flowers and leaves extending into the margin and delicately rendered line-fillers in red, blue and gold leaf. The text is humanistic with traces of the gothic bookhand.


Condition: B

Slight offsetting in margins.

Estimate: $700 - $800


Closed on 9/10/2003