Catalog Archive
Auction 109, Lot 756

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1470 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

4.8 x 6.7 inches
12.2 x 17 cm

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 wonderful vellum leaf from a French Book of Hours. The text is written in French instead of Latin, which indicates it was produced at the end of the Middle Ages when there was a movement to use the vernacular in religion. The leaf is finely illuminated in a multitude of colors and sparkling gold leaf. Each initial (6 in all) is decorated with tiny flowers and each side is embellished with a wide panel of flowers and acanthus leaves.


Condition: A

A few minor spots in margins.

Estimate: $350 - $425

Sold for: $250

Closed on 12/1/2004