Catalog Archive
Auction 195, Lot 811

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1450 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

4.2 x 5.9 inches
10.7 x 15 cm
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.

Superb vellum leaf with text in a bold gothic book hand with one illuminated initial in red, blue, white and burnished gold leaf. The recto includes a fine floral panel featuring a mythical animal painted in a multitude of colors and gold leaf. The text is part of Job 19, with the large P on recto beginning verse 20, which translates as:

The flesh being consumed. My bone hath cleaved to my skin, and nothing but lips are left about my teeth.
Have pity on me, have pity on me, at least you my friends, because the hand of the Lord hath touched me.
Why do you persecute me as God, and glut yourselves with my flesh?
Who will grant me that my words may be written? Who will grant me that they may be marked down in a book?
With an iron pen and in a plate of lead, or else be graven with an instrument in flint stone.
For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and in the last day I shall rise out of the earth.


Condition: B

A bright sheet with minor soiling, a tiny hole in the bottom margin, and smearing of the ink at bottom right.

Estimate: $350 - $425

Sold for: $250

Closed on 11/15/2023