Auction 96, Lot 527

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscript

Period: 1450 (circa)

Publication: Book of Hours


4.2 x 6.5 inches
10.7 x 16.5 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.

From a Parisian scriptorium, this leaf is written in Batarde lettering in brown ink on vellum. It is superbly decorated with a border of leaves and flowers in blue (acanthus leaves), green, red and gold. Each side contains an identical panel of decoration, in mirror image of each other, so there is no show through. The text is beautifully illuminated with many initials and line fillers in red, blue and liquid gold. The text begins with Psalm 86:5.


Condition: A+

A very beautiful leaf in near mint condition.

Estimate: $350 - $400

Sold for: $230

Closed on 9/12/2001