Auction 104, Lot 689

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Incunabula

Period: 1500 (circa)

Publication: Book of Hours


5 x 8.3 inches
12.7 x 21.1 cm

The word incunabula derives from the Latin cuna (cradle), and is used to denote books printed during the infancy of printing in the latter half of the 15th century. The earliest printers were trained in the manuscript tradition and incorporated the conventions of historiated initials and illustrations into their early work. At first they left those spaces blank for the illuminator to complete entirely by hand. Later they developed printing methods (using woodcuts or iron engravings) to decorate the leaves.

A rare vellum leaf from a Book of Hours, made during the transitional period when printing and illumination were combined. The printers at that time used the same type of letters that were used by the scribes, so the result looked like a manuscript. The initials and red and gold borders were then added by hand. The text is from the Office of the Dead, Matins, Job 10, 8-12 and Psalms 22 and 24.


Condition: A

Estimate: $150 - $200

Sold for: $160

Closed on 9/10/2003