Catalog Archive
Auction 183, Lot 537


"[Illuminated Leaf] ", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1450 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

3.8 x 5.3 inches
9.7 x 13.5 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 3 small initials in red and burnished gold leaf, as well as 2 line fillers. The text is in dark brown ink and includes part of Psalm 101, one of the Penitential Psalms: O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come unto thee.


Condition: A

Minor toning and soiling.

Estimate: $110 - $140

Sold for: $65

Closed on 6/9/2021