Auction 97, Lot 551

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1450 (circa)

Publication: Book of Hours


4 x 5.6 inches
10.2 x 14.2 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 very nice vellum leaf from a Book of Hours, written in France around 1450. The recto begins with Psalm 50, verse 20: Benigne fac domine in bona voluntate tua syon… [Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion…]. Psalm 50 is one of the penitential psalms, many of which were composed by King David. This one was written after his grievous sins with Bath-sheba. The seven penitential psalms were associated with the seven Deadly sins. The text concludes with Psalm 101: Domine exaudi orationem meam… [Hear my prayer, o Lord…]. The decorations include 11 initials and 12 line fillers all executed in red, blue, white and burnished gold leaf with penwork in the margins.


Condition: A

Minor soil in margins.

Estimate: $150 - $180

Sold for: $85

Closed on 12/5/2001