Catalog Archive
Auction 188, Lot 764

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1325 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

3.1 x 4.3 inches
7.9 x 10.9 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 vellum leaf is from an early Breviary written in France. The text is written in a single column (18 lines) in black ink with a number of initials and line fillers in red and blue ink, with a decorative border extending into the margins. This leaf includes part of Psalm 88, which translates in part as:

If they profane my justices: and keep not my commandments:
I will visit their iniquities with a rod: and their sins with stripes.
But my mercy I will not take away from him: nor will I suffer my truth to fail.
Neither will I profane my covenant: and the words that proceed from my mouth I will not make void.
Once have I sworn by my holiness: I will not lie unto David:
his seed shall endure for ever.


Condition: B+

Light soiling and dampstaining with a small remnants of hinge tape on recto in both corners at left.

Estimate: $150 - $180

Sold for: $100

Closed on 6/22/2022