Catalog Archive
Auction 125, Lot 891

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1480 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

5.2 x 7 inches
13.2 x 17.8 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.

This is a very high quality vellum leaf from a French Book of Hours. The parchment is thin and creamy white with a panel of flowers and leaves in red, blue, green and gold on the recto and beautifully illuminated initials on each side. The text is from the Second and Third reading. At the top of the recto we find: Ave maria gratia plena dns [dominus] tecum. The famous words that Gabriel spoke to the Virgin when he announced the birth of the Savior.


Condition: A+

Estimate: $350 - $400

Sold for: $275

Closed on 9/24/2008