Catalog Archive
Auction 106, Lot 603

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1450 (circa)

Publication: Book of Hours

Color: Hand Color

4.5 x 7.7 inches
11.4 x 19.6 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 rare and unusual vellum leaf from the calendar from a French Book of Hours. Text in brown, blue, red and gold. The margins are beautifully painted with floral panels. The text incorporates the calendar for March and begins with an elaborate foliate initial with the letters KL for kalender. Every Book of Hours started with a calendar to indicate which saints were to be invoked on a certain day. This leaf includes the saints Hylaire and Eustache, whose feast was celebrated in France. In a later hand the numbers of the days are added and on the verso, at the bottom, a sentence in French was written.


Condition: A+

Estimate: $350 - $400

Sold for: $400

Closed on 3/3/2004