Catalog Archive
Auction 98, Lot 465

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1400 (circa)

Publication: Book of Hours


4.2 x 6.7 inches
10.7 x 17 cm
Download High Resolution Image
(or just click on image to launch the Zoom viewer)

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 wonderfully decorated manuscript leaf from a Book of Hours, written in France at the beginning of the 15th century. The recto is beautifully illuminated both in the text with many initials and line fillers, and in the margins with acanthus leaves and many flowers in bright colors and gold leaf. Verso with four initials and three line fillers and no marginal decoration. The text is from the Hours of the Virgin, the first hour of the day - Matins.


Condition: B

Slightly smudged on the recto.

Estimate: $450 - $500

Sold for: $350

Closed on 3/6/2002