Catalog Archive
Auction 135, Lot 754

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1480 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

5.3 x 7 inches
13.5 x 17.8 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 beautiful vellum leaf from a French Book of Hours was likely written in a Parisian scriptorium. The vellum is thin and high quality, and the text is written in a regular book hand. The recto includes a fine panel of decorations include acanthus leaves and flowers, and there are only three lines of text on the verso.


Condition: A+

Estimate: $240 - $300


Closed on 2/16/2011