Auction 96, Lot 523

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Incunabula

Period: 1400 (circa)

Publication: Book of Hours


2.6 x 3.7 inches
6.6 x 9.4 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.

Tiny, very charming, leaf written in littera textualis on both sides, in dark brown ink, with 15 initials in red and blue. The recto is further decorated in the margin with superb penwork in blue "Delft " style, from the Utrecht region, and a large initial in burnished gold. The text is from Psalm 116.


Condition: A+

Estimate: $200 - $240

Sold for: $275

Closed on 9/12/2001