Catalog Archive
Auction 126, Lot 823

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1470 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

4.5 x 6 inches
11.4 x 15.2 cm
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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.

Handsome vellum leaf from a French Book of Hours, written in a regular book hand in or near Rouen. The text is written in French instead of Latin, which indicates it was produced at the end of the Middle Ages when there was a movement to use the vernacular in religion. The leaf is illuminated on both sides with large initials and line fillers in red, blue, white and burnished gold leaf. The verso is decorated with a marginal panel filled with flowers and leaves in bright colors.


Condition: B+

There are some light stains, mostly in the margins.

Estimate: $180 - $250

Sold for: $130

Closed on 12/3/2008