Catalog Archive
Auction 164, Lot 737

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1480 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

5.5 x 7.9 inches
14 x 20.1 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.

A very pretty leaf from a Franciscan breviary in northern Italy, possibly Milan, written on a fine sheet of buttery, white vellum in black ink. The recto is embellished with a large decorative initial in red and blue ink with flourishes in the margin, and both sides feature a number of small initials in red, blue, and burnished gold leaf.


Condition: A

Clean and bright.

Estimate: $160 - $190

Sold for: $100

Closed on 9/13/2017