Auction 97, Lot 547

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1450 (circa)

Publication: Book of Hours


5.3 x 7.4 inches
13.5 x 18.8 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.

This lovely vellum leaf was written in Normandy, around 1450 and was owned by Seigneur Richard du Mesnildot, Provost Royal of Coutances, in 1489. The text is from St. Mark 16 :14 [At that time, Jesus appeared to the eleven disciples as they sat at the table and he reproached their incredulity and hardness of heart, because they had not believed them that had seen him risen again from the dead]. The leaf is handsomely written in Gothic bookhand in brown ink. The recto is decorated with two initials in red, blue, white and gold leaf including some marginal illumination.


Condition: B

Light mildew spotting, mostly in margins and a cluster of tiny holes near edge of vellum.

Estimate: $180 - $220

Sold for: $110

Closed on 12/5/2001