Auction 173, Lot 451


"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1450 (published)


Color: Hand Color

3.8 x 5.2 inches
9.7 x 13.2 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 Book of Hours from Bruges, written in batarde script with nine initials in red and blue pen work with some gold leaf decoration, and some diagonal line fillers. The text is part of the Seven Penitential Psalms, beginning with Psalm 101, verse 8 on the third line on recto:

I have watched, and am become as a sparrow all alone on the housetop.
All the day long my enemies reproached me: and they that praised me did swear against me.
For I did eat ashes like bread, and mingled my drink with weeping.
Because of thy anger and indignation: for having lifted me up thou hast thrown me down.
My days have declined like a shadow, and I am withered like grass.
But thou, O Lord, endurest for ever: and thy memorial to all generations.


Condition: A

Minor marginal soiling.

Estimate: $140 - $170

Sold for: $85

Closed on 6/5/2019