Auction 130, Lot 841

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1480 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

5.9 x 8 inches
15 x 20.3 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 beautifully decorated vellum leaf from a French Book of Hours. The text is illuminated with initials and line fillers delicately painted in red, blue, white and burnished gold leaf. The border panels contain a rich ornamentation of flowers and acanthus leaves on both sides. These panels are each other’s mirror image, which is very rare. The text, in a brown/black gothic book hand is from the Hours of the Virgin, Lauds, the Canticle of the Three Children; Daniel 3.


Condition: A+

Estimate: $300 - $375

Sold for: $220

Closed on 12/2/2009