Catalog Archive
Auction 105, Lot 581

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1480 (circa)

Publication: Book of Hours


3.6 x 5.4 inches
9.1 x 13.7 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 fine leaf of thin vellum with modest decoration only in the large initials on each side. These are written in red, blue or gold with delicate penwork around the initials. The text is written in batarde bookhand and is from the seven Penitential Psalms (6, 31, 37, 50, 101, 129 and 142). The Penitential Psalms were recited to ask for forgiveness for the dead, thereby reducing the time the departed had to spend in purgatory.


Condition: A

Estimate: $110 - $150

Sold for: $70

Closed on 12/3/2003