Catalog Archive
Auction 182, Lot 769

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1430 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

2.6 x 3.5 inches
6.6 x 8.9 cm
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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 is a lovely, tiny leaf from a Book of Hours created in Flanders around 1430. The book was so small, it must have been the property of a lady who carried it in her purse. The verso has a superb large initial "D" in blue, red, white and burnished gold leaf, and there are a number of other smaller initials in the text. The margins on verso are filled with vines, leaves and fruit. The text is in dark brown ink. Starting with the large Illuminated "D" on the recto, the text translates as: "O God, come to my assistance; O Lord, make haste to help me."


Condition: B+

Light toning and soiling.

Estimate: $700 - $850


Closed on 4/28/2021