Catalog Archive
Auction 184, Lot 770

NO RESERVE

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1430 (circa)

Publication:

Color: Hand Color

Size:
2.6 x 3.5 inches
6.6 x 8.9 cm
New! Download High Resolution Image
(or just click on image to launch the Zoom viewer)

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 in the region between Tours and Rouen around 1430. The book was so small, it must have been the property of a lady who carried it in her purse. The are a number of initials in blue, red and burnished gold leaf, and the left and top margins on recto are filled with vines and leaves. The text is in dark brown ink. Beginning with the large initial "O" on recto is a prayer to the Mother of God, and the text translates as:

I beseech thee, Lady Holy Mary, Mother of God, most full of piety, daughter of the Most High King, Mother most glorious, Mother of orphans, consolation of the desolate, way of the straying, health and hope of those hoping in thee, virgin before giving birth, virgin during birth, and virgin after giving birth. I beseech thee font of mercy, font of grace and well-being, font of piety and joy, font of consolation and indulgence.

References:

Condition: B+

Light toning and soiling.

Estimate: $180 - $210

Sold for: $85

Closed on 9/15/2021

Archived