Catalog Archive
Auction 106, Lot 615

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Early Printing

Period: 1510 (circa)

Publication: Book of Hours

Color: Hand Color

4.2 x 7 inches
10.7 x 17.8 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.

An extraordinary example from the early transitional period between manuscript and printed Book of Hours. This fine vellum leaf is printed in gothic bookhand type. The text includes two miniatures: St. Veronica with the cloth that bore the face of Jesus and the other of St. Michael killing the dragon. The miniatures and surrounding decorative borders were made from metal blocks. The illuminated initials and line fillers are particularly well done, painted by a very skillful hand and highlighted with burnished gold leaf.


Condition: A+

Estimate: $160 - $200

Sold for: $170

Closed on 3/3/2004