Auction 96, Lot 525

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscript

Period: 1450 (circa)

Publication: Book of Hours


5.4 x 7.5 inches
13.7 x 19.1 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.

This leaf originated in the Normandy region in the mid 15th century. The text is part of the Hours of the Virgin. The recto is beautifully illuminated with a magnificent initial with many flowers in different colors and gold leaf, together forming the capital "D". This side also contains three smaller illuminated initials. On the verso there are three initials, one covering two lines, and a marginal decoration of flowers and leaves. The text is written in brown-black ink and the rubrics in red. Provenance: The book was purchased by Seigneur Richard du Mesnildot, Provost Royal of Coutances, in 1489.


Condition: A

Some spotting in margins, not affecting text or illuminations.

Estimate: $550 - $600

Sold for: $400

Closed on 9/12/2001