Auction 140, Lot 879

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1470 (circa)

Publication:

Color: Hand Color

Size:
4.5 x 6 inches
11.4 x 15.2 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 buttery vellum leaf is from a French Book of Hours, written in or near Rouen. The recto is embellished with a large initial in red and blue ink and burnished gold, one line filler, and a decorative border of leaves and flowers. What makes this leaf special is a hand-written note on the verso that does not belong to this part of the book, and reads in part "salve crux digna super omnia ligna benigna tu me signai moriar ne more maligna."

References:

Condition: B+

Minor soiling.

Estimate: $160 - $200

Sold for: $120

Closed on 5/23/2012

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