Auction 97, Lot 543

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1400 (circa)

Publication: Book of Hours


5.7 x 7.8 inches
14.5 x 19.8 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.

A superb vellum leaf from a Book of Hours, written in France around 1400. The verso is elaborately illuminated (in gold leaf and multiple colors) with a delicate border of vines, acanthus leaves, flowers and fruit, and includes a fine large initial in burnished gold leaf. The text is from the Gospel of St. Luke, the second reading in the Book, and the story of the Annunciation. The recto is crisply written in black ink, but undecorated.


Condition: A+

Estimate: $600 - $700


Closed on 12/5/2001