Auction 119, Lot 870

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1460 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

2.3 x 3 inches
5.8 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.

This is a lovely, tiny leaf from an Italian Book of Hours created in Naples around 1460. The book was so small, it must have been the property of a lady who carried it in her purse. There is a very nice initial in gold with elaborate blue penwork in the margin. The delicate text has may initials in blue, red and gold leaf. The text is in a Humanistic bookhand in dark brown ink, with the rubrics in red. It is from the Hours of the Virgin, Compline, the Psalms 128 and 129 (129 and 130 in most Bibles).


Condition: B

Nearly fine with a tiny bit of flaking on the verso.

Estimate: $110 - $150

Sold for: $80

Closed on 5/9/2007