Catalog Archive
Auction 109, Lot 758

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1480 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

3.6 x 5.8 inches
9.1 x 14.7 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 an Italian Book of Hours written in a very fine humanistic bookhand with superb Renaissance illumination. Inside the large initial ‘D’ is a painting of King David cowering before God’s wrath in the form of an arm with arrows threatening to kill him. Panels emulating bejeweled bindings surround the text of the recto. The text is from one of the Penitential Psalms, Psalm 6.


Condition: A

Edges have been shaved in a previous binding.

Estimate: $800 - $900

Sold for: $600

Closed on 12/1/2004