Catalog Archive
Auction 110, Lot 712

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1530 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

2.5 x 4.4 inches
6.4 x 11.2 cm
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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.

This is a very unusual vellum leaf from a French Book of Hours, written at a time when printing was overtaking the manuscript tradition. The text is hand written in a very fine humanistic script in black ink and red rubrics. The initials and line fillers are finely painted with black and gold. The single column of text (21 lines) is enclosed within a rope-like border in gold, knotted at the bottom of the page. The pages are numbered, which is very rare in earlier manuscripts. The text is from the Hours of the Virgin, Matins, psalm 96.


Condition: A+

Estimate: $350 - $400

Sold for: $325

Closed on 3/2/2005