Catalog Archive
Auction 182, Lot 771


"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1450 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

3.5 x 4.9 inches
8.9 x 12.4 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 France. The book was so small, it must have been the property of a lady who carried it in her purse. The delicate text has 11 small initials in red and burnished gold leaf, as well as 3 line fillers. The text is in dark brown ink and is part of St. Albans Psalter, and translates as:

You have visited the earth and have saturated it: you have multiplied to enrich it.
The river of god is replenished with waters: you have prepared their food because so is its preparation.
Saturate her streams multiply her fruits: in her dripping water she shall rejoice springing up.
You will bless the crown of the year of your goodness: and your fields shall be filled with plenty.
The beautiful places of the desert shall be abundant: and the hills shall be girded about with exaltation.
The rams of the sheep are clothed: and the valleys shall abound with corn: they will shout in fact they will say a hymn.


Condition: A

Minor toning and soiling.

Estimate: $110 - $140

Sold for: $75

Closed on 4/28/2021