Auction 151, Lot 722

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1480 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

5.5 x 7.8 inches
14 x 19.8 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 creamy vellum leaf is from an Italian book of hours, written in black, red and blue ink. The text is from Psalm 70, verses 11 through 24. Beginning at the top of the recto the text translates as:

Saying: God hath forsaken him: pursue and take him, for there is none to deliver him.
O God, be not thou far from me: O my God, make haste to my help.
Let them be confounded and come to nothing that detract my soul; let them be covered with confusion and shame that seek my hurt.
But I will always hope; and will add to all thy praise.


Condition: A

Very minor toning and soiling along edges of sheet.

Estimate: $140 - $170

Sold for: $80

Closed on 11/19/2014