Auction 110, Lot 706

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1450 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

5 x 7.2 inches
12.7 x 18.3 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 a French Book of Hours. The Latin text is written in a regular gothic bookhand. The 9 inititals and 6 line fillers are illuminated in red, blue, white and burnished gold leaf. Each side is embellished with floral panels in bright colors. The text is from the Seven Penitential Psalms, psalm 37. Since the number of these psalms was the same as the Deadly Sins, the two became linked, and the Penitential Psalms were recited to ask for forgiveness for the dead and were also recited to benefit the living, as a means of avoiding these sins in the first place.


Condition: A+

Estimate: $350 - $400

Sold for: $250

Closed on 3/2/2005