Auction 96, Lot 522

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Incunabula

Period: 1400 (circa)

Publication: Book of Hours


3.7 x 5 inches
9.4 x 12.7 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 very fine leaf written on thin vellum in France at the early part of the 15th century. The margin is beautifully decorated with tendrils of leaves and flowers in gold leaf, blue and red. The text is illuminated with several initials and line fillers in the same colors. The Latin text from Psalms 37 and 50.


Condition: A

Estimate: $350 - $400

Sold for: $375

Closed on 9/12/2001