Auction 126, Lot 827

"[Book of Hours Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Manuscripts

Period: 1570 (circa)

Publication:

Color: Hand Color

Size:
4.5 x 6.5 inches
11.4 x 16.5 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 lovely 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. There are a number of small colored and gilt initials on both sides, and one large historiated 'D' on the recto painted with a delicate flower. There are many line fillers, all in a variety of styles. The text is from the Seven Penitential Psalms, Psalm 129 (130 KJV).

References:

Condition: A+

Estimate: $240 - $300

Sold for: $180

Closed on 12/3/2008

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