Catalog Archive
Auction 109, Lot 760

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1485 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

4 x 5.6 inches
10.2 x 14.2 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 and rare leaf from a French Book of Hours, written in French. During the Middle Ages the Latin language was used in the Roman Catholic church and all religious books were written in that language. At the end of the period there was a movement to make use of the vernacular in religious works. The fine vellum is lavishly illuminated with initials and line-fillers in red, blue, white and burnished gold leaf. The margins of both sides are filled with colorful flowers and leaves. The text is from the Seven Penitential Psalms, 50 and 101. Provenance: From the collection of the Edward Laurence Doheny Memorial Library, St. John’s Seminary, Camarillo, California.


Condition: A

Floral panels both slightly trimmed, as is quite common with Book of Hours leaves due to rebinding.

Estimate: $275 - $350

Sold for: $200

Closed on 12/1/2004