Catalog Archive
Auction 109, Lot 759

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1480 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

4.5 x 6 inches
11.4 x 15.2 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 beautiful vellum leaf from the calendar section of a Book of Hours. This leaf contains the calendar for the month of December and is written in French, at the end of the Middle Ages when the vernacular played an increasingly important role. The text begins with KL (Latin word kalend) followed by the name of the month, written in brown ink with the more important dates in red. The illuminated initials are done in red, blue, white and burnished gold leaf.


Condition: B

Faint stamp and small hole in bottom margin of recto.

Estimate: $110 - $160

Sold for: $80

Closed on 12/1/2004