Auction 171, Lot 745


"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1450 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

6.8 x 9.4 inches
17.3 x 23.9 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 large leaf is from a French book of hours, written in regular bookhand with a number of illuminated initials and line fillers in red, blue, and burnished gold leaf. The text is from the Office of the Dead, the psalms and prayers for relatives and friends who were suffering in purgatory. The text translates as:

[Thou hast prepared in my sight a table] against them that trouble me. Thou hast fatted my head with oil: and my drink-filling cup, how goodly is it? And thy mercy shall follow me: all the days of my life. And that I may dwell in the house of our Lord in the length of my days. Eternal rest give unto them, O Lord: and let perpetual light shine unto them. A: In a place of pasture there hath he placed me. A: The offenses...


Condition: A

Marginal soiling with small remnants of hinge tape on verso.

Estimate: $240 - $300

Sold for: $130

Closed on 2/6/2019