Catalog Archive
Auction 120, Lot 818

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1360 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

3.5 x 5 inches
8.9 x 12.7 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.

Beautifully crafted illuminated vellum leaf from an early French Book of Hours. The decoration is typical of the scriptoria of northern France in the second half of the 14th century with large initials in red, blue, white and burnished gold with the 'tails' of triangular leaves in the same colors extending into the margins. Translation of a portion of the Latin text as follows: O omnipotent, eternal God, grant to us that grace of the Holy Ghost that thou didst transmit to thy disciples on that holy day of Pentecost.


Condition: B+

A little minor abrasion and some stains at the edge. Still a nice example for being over 600 years old.

Estimate: $400 - $500

Sold for: $375

Closed on 7/18/2007