Auction 121, Lot 831

"[Book of Hours Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1470 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

4.5 x 6 inches
11.4 x 15.2 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 vellum leaf from a French Book of Hours was written around 1470 in or near Rouen. The decoration on the verso has flowers and leaves in bright colors and burnished gold. The flowers and leaves are as bright as they were 500 years ago. There is one initial in red, blue, white and gold. The recto is simple script.


Condition: A

Very clean vellum with just a touch of abrasion on the gold.

Estimate: $200 - $300

Sold for: $130

Closed on 9/26/2007