Auction 135, Lot 753

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1475 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

4.8 x 6.4 inches
12.2 x 16.3 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.

A very fine vellum leaf from a Parisian Book of Hours with both sides decorated with wide panels of ivy leaves and colorful flowers. There are numerous initials and line fillers all painted in red, blue, white and glistening gold leaf. The text is from the Office of the Dead, the Vespers, Psalms 129 and 137 (KJV 130 and 138). During the Middle Ages, praying the Office of the Dead was considered the most efficacious means of reducing the time a departed loved one would spend in purgatory.


Condition: A+

Estimate: $240 - $300

Sold for: $275

Closed on 2/16/2011