Auction 121, Lot 834

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1540 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

4 x 5.5 inches
10.2 x 14 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.

A dramatic image of the Crucifixion, the Savior on the cross, the Virgin Mary and the Apostle John next to him. The landscape and sky are skillfully painted, suggesting the darkness that occurred when Jesus was on the cross. The expressions of the three figures are deftly drawn, and the image sits within a classical portico. The text on verso is in a neat batarde hand, with many initials in red, blue and gold.


Condition: A

The binder trimmed a portion of the classical frame on the right. A minor smudge on the verso.

Estimate: $2,000 - $2,500

Sold for: $1,500

Closed on 9/26/2007