Catalog Archive
Auction 187, Lot 713


"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1470 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

4.5 x 6.1 inches
11.4 x 15.5 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 buttery vellum leaf is from a French book of hours and is written in tiny lettering in two columns in brown ink with numerous initials illuminated in blue, red, white and burnished gold. The text includes part of a sermon by Pope Gregory I (Saint Gregory the Great) known as the Forty Homilies on the Gospels. The headings at top indicate Wednesday through the Sabbath. Beginning with the large letter "Q" in the right-hand column on recto, the text reads:

Qui ergo Paschalis gaudii solemnitatem celebrare desiderat, agnum nec aqua coquat, nec crudum comedat, ut neque per humanam sapientiam profunditatem illius incarnationis penetrare appetat, neque in eum tanquam in hominem purum credat; sed assas igni carnes comedat.

This translates as: "He, therefore, who desires to celebrate the feast of Easter joy, neither boils the lamb with water, nor eats it raw; but let him eat flesh roasted with fire."


Condition: A

Minor soiling.

Estimate: $140 - $180

Sold for: $240

Closed on 4/27/2022