Catalog Archive
Auction 184, Lot 776

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1460 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

5.1 x 7 inches
13 x 17.8 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.

Superb vellum leaf from a French Book of Hours. The text is in a bold gothic book hand with seven illuminated initials and six line fillers. Both sides include fine floral panels painted in a multitude of colors and gold leaf. The text is part of Psalm 37, with the large Q on recto beginning verse 8, which translates as:

For my loins are filled with illusions; and there is no health in my flesh.
I am afflicted and humbled exceedingly: I roared with the groaning of my heart.
Lord, all my desire is before thee, and my groaning is not hidden from thee.
My heart is troubled, my strength hath left me, and the light of my eyes itself is not with me.
My friends and my neighbors have drawn near, and stood against me. And they that were near me stood afar off:
And they that sought my soul used violence. And they that sought evils to me spoke vain things, and studied deceits all the day long.


Condition: B+

A nice leaf with light soiling and some staining at bottom.

Estimate: $240 - $300

Sold for: $180

Closed on 9/15/2021