Auction 124, Lot 741

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1475 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

3.5 x 5.3 inches
8.9 x 13.5 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 beautifully decorated vellum leaf is from a French Book of Hours in the style of Maitre Francois, one of the leading artists of the school that dominated book illumination in Paris during the second half of the 15th century. The recto text is surrounded with an elaborate floral border in which an illustration of a sad woman rises from a cornucopia. A beautiful miniature painting within the large initial 'D' features the Crucifixion with Mary and John standing at the foot of the cross.


Condition: A+

Estimate: $2,300 - $2,500

Sold for: $1,700

Closed on 5/7/2008