Catalog Archive
Auction 98, Lot 466

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1400 (circa)

Publication: Book of Hours


4.7 x 7.5 inches
11.9 x 19.1 cm
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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 leaf from a French Book of Hours, written on vellum at the beginning of the 15th century. This leaf is from the Office of the Dead - Job 10 and the 24th Psalm. Praying the Office was considered the most efficacious means of reducing purgatory and speeding one's relatives on to paradise. The text is filled with fine illuminated initials and line fillers with blue rubrics and the margins are filled with panels of brightly colored flowers and leaves. Both sides are fully decorated.


Condition: A

Some discoloration in margins.

Estimate: $475 - $550

Sold for: $475

Closed on 3/6/2002