Auction 110, Lot 709

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1460 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

2.1 x 3 inches
5.3 x 7.6 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 very pretty leaf from an Italian Book of Hours. The diminutive size indicates that the book was the property of a lady. The recto is embellished with one large initial in gold with beautiful blue and red penwork extending into the margin. The text is in a regular Gothic bookhand in black/brown ink with the rubrics in red.


Condition: A

Slight damp stain on verso.

Estimate: $140 - $180

Sold for: $120

Closed on 3/2/2005