Catalog Archive
Auction 128, Lot 935

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1480 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

4.8 x 6.3 inches
12.2 x 16 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.

This is a fine quality vellum leaf from a French Book of Hours, likely from a Parisian scriptorium. On the recto is a large illuminated initial with a tiny painting of a flower inside and the margin is paneled with flowers and leaves painted in red, blue, green and gold. The text is from the Office of the Dead, Matins, Job 17. The Office of the Dead was an important part of the Book of Hours; its prayers recited to speed departed relatives through purgatory.


Condition: A+

Slight cockling, else fine.

Estimate: $220 - $300

Sold for: $160

Closed on 5/20/2009