Auction 128, Lot 933

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1470 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

4.6 x 6 inches
11.7 x 15.2 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 fine vellum leaf from a French Book of Hours, written in or near Rouen. The decoration on the recto is very elaborate with flowers and leaves in bright colors and much liquid gold. There are a total of 11 initials and eight line fillers in the text on both sides. The text is from the Seven Penitential Psalms, Psalm 37 and 50 (38 and 51 in the KJV) Like the Office of the Dead, the psalms were recited for both the living, as a means of avoiding the Seven Deadly Sins, and for the dead to reduce the time the departed had to spend in purgatory.


Condition: A

There are a couple spots in the blank margins, else very good.

Estimate: $180 - $230

Sold for: $130

Closed on 5/20/2009