Auction 155, Lot 722

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1250 (circa)

Publication:

Color: Hand Color

Size:
5.1 x 7.3 inches
13 x 18.5 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.

Fine vellum leaf from a French Bible. In Paris, the birth of the Bible as we know it took place around 1200, when for the first time it was bound into a single volume; the order and names of the books were standardized and the text was divided up into numbered chapters. The scribes employed headings at the top of each page and used blue and red initials to mark the beginning of each chapter, often split between the recto and verso. This sheet has a "C" at the top of the page, which was abbreviated for "cum," and the previous page would have stated "Mar," as this page is from the Evangelium secundum Marcum (or Mark). The text of this leaf is written in a very regular Gothic hand, in two columns, 50 lines, with pen work in red and blue. Beginning with the "XVI" on recto is Mark, chapter 16, and the text translates as:

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus' body.

References:

Condition: A

Light marginal toning and soiling. The text is slightly faded on verso.

Estimate: $400 - $500

Sold for: $300

Closed on 11/18/2015

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