Catalog Archive
Auction 177, Lot 748


"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1470 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

4.4 x 6 inches
11.2 x 15.2 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.

This buttery vellum leaf is from a French Book of Hours, written in or near Rouen. The text is written in Latin in regular book hand in brown ink. The leaf is embellished with one large initial, nine small initials, and several line fillers in red and blue ink and burnished gold, as well as a decorative panel in the right and left margins on recto with leaves and flowers. Beginning with the large initial Q on recto is Psalm 41, which translates as:

As the hart panteth after the fountains of water; so my soul panteth after thee, O God.
My soul hath thirsted after the strong living God; when shall I come and appear before the face of God?
My tears have been any bread day and night, whilst it is said to me daily: Where is thy God?
These things I remembered, and poured out my soul in me: for I shall go over into the place of the wonderful tabernacle, even to the house of God: With the voice of joy and praise; the noise of one feasting.


Condition: A

Minor toning and soiling.

Estimate: $180 - $220

Sold for: $150

Closed on 4/29/2020