Auction 171, Lot 749


"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1470 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

4.8 x 6.5 inches
12.2 x 16.5 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.

A superbly decorated leaf from a Latin Book of Hours, written in the "textura" style. The verso has a large illuminated initial "O" in red, blue, white and burnished gold leaf. The text is surrounded on three sides by a decorative panel painted with gold leaves on hairline stems with colorful flowers and fruits. Beginning with the large initial "O" is the popular prayer "O Intemerata," which translates in part as:

O unspotted and forever blessed, unique and incomparable Virgin Mary, Mother of God, most graceful temple of God, sanctuary of the Holy Spirit, gate of the kingdom of heaven, by whom next unto God the whole world liveth, incline O Mother of Mercy thy ears of piety unto my unworthy supplications, and be merciful to me a most wretched sinner, and be unto me a helper in all things.


Condition: B+

Light toning and soiling with a small remnant of hinge tape in the top left corner on recto.

Estimate: $300 - $375

Sold for: $210

Closed on 2/6/2019