Catalog Archive
Auction 108, Lot 663

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1480 (circa)

Publication: Book of Hours

Color: Hand Color

3.5 x 5.7 inches
8.9 x 14.5 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 unusual vellum leaf from an Italian Book of Hours. Written in a very fine humanistic book hand with rubrics in red and blue. The recto is elaborately illuminated with panels emulating bejeweled bindings surrounding the text. The large initial 'D' is exquisite with museum quality pen work. This leaf has part of the text of the Hours of the Cross, Matins.


Condition: A

Edges appear to have been shaved in a previous binding.

Estimate: $700 - $800

Sold for: $750

Closed on 9/29/2004