Catalog Archive

Auction 156, Lot 793

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1430 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

4.4 x 5.9 inches
11.2 x 15 cm
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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.

A nice vellum manuscript from a French Book of Hours, in the style of a Rouen scriptorium. Written in brown and red ink, the leaf has three large initials, eight small initials, and one line filler in red and blue and burnished gold leaf, as well as a decorative panel in the margin on both recto and verso with ivy and flowers. The text is from the Office of the Holy Cross. Beginning with the large initial "P" on recto, the text translates as:

The wisdom of the Father, and truth divine beside,
God and man surprised was even at the morning tide:
His known disciples left him for to follow more:
Sold and betrayed to the Jews they did afflict him sore.


Condition: B

Some toning and soiling.

Estimate: $140 - $170

Sold for: $90

Closed on 2/17/2016