Auction 117, Lot 854

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1300 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

3.5 x 4.5 inches
8.9 x 11.4 cm

A Breviary is liturgical book used for the celebration of the Divine Office. All members of monastic orders and the clergy are committed to the daily recitation prayers, devotions and reading contained in the breviary. During the Middle Ages, the leaves making up a Breviary 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 in a laborious manner with handmade paints and gold leaf, and masterful binders to complete the process.

Vellum leaf from a Breviary written in Flanders, probably by Bruges. It was used by Dominican or Franciscan monks, who traveled throughout Europe. Every Breviary begins with a Psalter and this leaf is from this section, with the text, written in a Gothic bookhand, from the Psalms. The decorations, painted in blue, mauve and burnished gold leaf, including one large initial on the recto that extends the full length of the margin.


Condition: B

Soiled, as is to be expected for a leaf from a traveling breviary.

Estimate: $275 - $325

Sold for: $325

Closed on 12/6/2006