Catalog Archive
Auction 177, Lot 743


"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1420 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

5.1 x 7.1 inches
13 x 18 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 beautiful vellum leaf from the calendar in a French Book of Hours. The text is written in a regular gothic bookhand in brown/black with red rubrics. Both sides are finely illuminated with numerous initials in red, blue, white and lots of gold leaf. The margins are filled with flowers in bright colors and tendrils with gold leaves. This leaf for the month of August details the number of days and moons, followed by the saint's days (with the more important ones written in red). The large initials KL for kalender and the A initials (for Sundays) are beautifully illuminated.


Condition: B+

Overall clean and bright except for a damp stain impacting the flower border on verso.

Estimate: $200 - $240

Sold for: $300

Closed on 4/29/2020