Auction 96, Lot 530

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscript

Period: 1450 (circa)

Publication: Psalterium


5 x 7 inches
12.7 x 17.8 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.

Lovely leaf written on a very thin piece of vellum. Visible on the binding edge are the tiny holes that were made by the scribe as a guide for drawing the perfectly aligned horizontal lines. Across the top are 4 holes from which the perpendicular lines were drawn to create the columns of text. The text is written in black with the rubrics in red with five initials in red or blue pen-work.


Condition: A

A little damp stain on edges and slightly cockled.

Estimate: $150 - $180

Sold for: $160

Closed on 9/12/2001