Catalog Archive
Auction 195, Lot 809


"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1430 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

2.6 x 3.6 inches
6.6 x 9.1 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 vellum leaf from a Book of Hours created in Tours/Rouen around 1430. The book was so small, it must have been the property of a lady who carried it in her purse. This leaf includes 5 initials in red, blue and burnished gold, as well as vines and leaves in the margins on recto. The leaf includes Suffrages for saints, including Saint Martin and Saint Nicholas. Beginning with the large initial D on recto, the text translates in part as:

O God, who perceiveth that we withstand from no virtue of ours, grant graciously that by the intercession of blessed Martin thy confessor and bishop we may be fortified against all adversities.
Nicholas, the friend of God, adorned by a priestly fillet, showed himself loving to all.
Pray for us, blessed Nicholas.
That we be made worthy of the promises of Christ.


Condition: B+

Light toning and soiling.

Estimate: $120 - $150

Sold for: $80

Closed on 11/15/2023