Catalog Archive
Auction 98, Lot 469

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1400 (circa)

Publication: Book of Hours


2.5 x 3.75 inches
6.4 x 9.5 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 very small vellum leaf from lady's Book of Hours. Illuminated in the Delft style with fine, red, linear embellishment in the margin of the verso. The large initial 'O' is decorated with burnished gold leaf. The writing is in littera textualis, in dark brown ink, with the rubrics in red. The text is for those who sought reprieve from Purgatory with the red rubric at the top of the page promising that 20,000 years can be 'earned' by these prayers.


Condition: B

Minor soil in margins.

Estimate: $200 - $240

Sold for: $160

Closed on 3/6/2002