Auction 122, Lot 854

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Manuscripts

Period: 1570 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

4.3 x 6.3 inches
10.9 x 16 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, perhaps in imitation of printed type. The large initials are in bright colors of blue, red, green, pink and gold adorned with delicately painted leaves and flowers. There are many line fillers, all in a variety of styles. The text is surrounded in a gold painted frame, and it is from Psalms 130, Luke 2.


Condition: A+

Estimate: $240 - $300

Sold for: $230

Closed on 12/5/2007