Auction 123, Lot 810

"[Book of Hours Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1450 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

4.5 x 6.6 inches
11.4 x 16.8 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 very nice vellum leaf from a French Book of Hours, written in Paris or Rouen. The leaf contains elaborate pen work decoration in red, blue and black, especially around the large initials. Very brilliant gold leaf has been burnished into some of the marginal decorations and initials.


Condition: B

A nice sheet of vellum with some smudging of the text on the recto.

Estimate: $350 - $400

Sold for: $250

Closed on 2/20/2008