Catalog Archive
Auction 96, Lot 526

"[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
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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.

From the Normany region with text is from the Office of the Dead - Matins, Psalm 39. It is finely illuminated on both sides with nine decorative initials and six line fillers. The recto is further embellished with flowers and vines in the margin. Provenance: The book was purchased by Seigneur Richard du Mesnildot, Provost Royal of Coutances, in 1489.


Condition: A

Minor spotting in margins.

Estimate: $190 - $230

Sold for: $160

Closed on 9/12/2001