Catalog Archive
Auction 108, Lot 653

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1325 (circa)

Publication: Book of Hours

Color: Hand Color

4.5 x 6.2 inches
11.4 x 15.7 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 very rare vellum leaf from an early Book of Hours, written by hand in the North of France. Both sides are richly illuminated with large initials and line fillers in bright colors and burnished gold leaf. One initial is very elaborate with a vine extending into the margin and one of the line fillers contains a tiny dragon. The text is written in two different hands in brown ink with the rubrics in red. Text is from a psalm of David (Psalm 34).


Condition: A

Minor offsetting.

Estimate: $600 - $700

Sold for: $375

Closed on 9/29/2004