Auction 139, Lot 738

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1450 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

4.5 x 6.5 inches
11.4 x 16.5 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 lovely leaf is from a French Book of Hours written in regular Gothic lettering on a fine sheet of buttery, white vellum in black ink. The text includes part of Psalms 43 and 128. The sheet is embellished with numerous decorative initials and line fillers illuminated in red, blue, white and burnished gold leaf. Decorative panels on both sides are painted with acanthus leaves and colorful flowers.


Condition: A

A few minute worm holes only visible when held to light, and marginal soiling.

Estimate: $275 - $350

Sold for: $200

Closed on 2/15/2012