Auction 96, Lot 521

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscript

Period: 1400 (circa)

Publication: Book of Hours


6.4 x 4 inches
16.3 x 10.2 cm

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.

A vellum leaf from a French Book of Hours containing prayers from the Hours of the Virgin, Compline, Psalm 128 ( KJV 129). The leaf is boldly decorated with eleven initials, (two of which are 2-line size) and numerous line fillers, all executed in red, blue and burnished gold.


Condition: A

There is a bit of mildew in the margins of the recto.

Estimate: $150 - $200

Sold for: $180

Closed on 9/12/2001