Catalog Archive
Auction 108, Lot 659

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1450 (circa)

Publication: Book of Hours

Color: Hand Color

4.5 x 7.8 inches
11.4 x 19.8 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.

A beautiful calendar leaf containing September. Every Book of Hours started with a calendar that enumerated the days of the month by citing the feast, or saints' day, that was celebrated on that particular day. This fine vellum leaf lists the special days in red with ordinary days in blue. At the top of the recto are the illuminated initials 'KL' (Latin word kalend) followed by the name of the month. Both sides are embellished with two colorful panels containing acanthus leaves and flowers. A different hand has added numbers on each line in black ink.


Condition: A

Estimate: $350 - $450


Closed on 9/29/2004