Catalog Archive
Auction 118, Lot 926

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Manuscripts

Period: 1570 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

4.4 x 6.4 inches
11.2 x 16.3 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.

This appealing vellum leaf is from a very late manuscript French Book of Hours, made after the reforms initiated by Pope Pius V in 1568. The scribe used dark brown ink and wrote in a fine rounded Roman hand that appears to be an imitation of the printed type that had recently replaced most manuscripts. The delicate initials and line fillers are finely painted in blue, red, green and gold. The large, foliate initials on both sides are illuminated with very pretty paintings of flowers and leaves. The text is surrounded by a gold painted frame, and it is from Psalm 126 the beginning of Psalm 127.


Condition: A+

Estimate: $200 - $275

Sold for: $150

Closed on 3/6/2007