Auction 96, Lot 524

"[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.

A tiny vellum leaf from a Book of Hours, originating in Utrecht, and probably owned by a lady due to its diminutive size. Written in littera textualis on both sides, in dark brown ink, with 9 initials in red and blue. The red ink was made with lead oxide and blue with the powder of lapis lazuli. The recto contains text from Ecclesiastes 12:1 and on the verso is Psalm 50 (King James Psalm 51).


Condition: A+

Estimate: $110 - $140

Sold for: $140

Closed on 9/12/2001