Auction 97, Lot 541

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1400 (circa)

Publication: Book of Hours


4.1 x 5.7 inches
10.4 x 14.5 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.

This very early leaf was written in the north of France, around or before 1400. It is written in brown ink and illuminated with red, blue and gold, which also includes some penwork in the margins. The text is part of the Office of the Dead, Job 10, verse 3 and 4.


Condition: A

Edges of vellum slightly browned.

Estimate: $140 - $180

Sold for: $85

Closed on 12/5/2001