Auction 112, Lot 763

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1450 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

5.5 x 8.3 inches
14 x 21.1 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.

Superb vellum leaf with very wide margins from a French Book of Hours. The text is in a bold gothic book hand with rubrics in red and blue. Both sides include fine floral panels and numerous illuminated initials and line fillers painted in blue, red, white and liquid gold. The text is from the Hours of the Virgin, Compline, Psalm 129. In the lower margin is the catch word ego. A catch word was written on the last leaf of a quire (or gathering of leaves) to assist the binder in assembling the correct sequence of quires for the book.


Condition: A+

Estimate: $500 - $600

Sold for: $550

Closed on 9/28/2005