Catalog Archive
Auction 98, Lot 486

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Incunabula

Period: 1500 (circa)

Publication: Book of Hours


4.5 x 7 inches
11.4 x 17.8 cm
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The word incunabula derives from the Latin cuna (cradle), and is used to denote books printed during the infancy of printing in the latter half of the 15th century. The earliest printers were trained in the manuscript tradition and incorporated the conventions of historiated initials and illustrations into their early work. At first they left those spaces blank for the illuminator to complete entirely by hand. Later they developed printing methods (using woodcuts or iron engravings) to decorate the leaves.

A very rare vellum leaf from a Book of Hours, printed in France. This leaf is a superb example of a very short period of time(1480-1520) as evidenced by three things. First the language is French instead of Latin. At the end of the Middle Ages the language of the 'commoner' became more prominent. Second both printed and hand-painted, metal-cut, illustrations are combined which was only done during the transition from manuscript to printing. Third the leaf is vellum instead of paper. The recto is illuminated with a picture of Jesus, a large initial and two line fillers. The verso contains text only. The text is a prayer to our Lord.


Condition: B

Small spot of stray red color and wear to edges.

Estimate: $150 - $180

Sold for: $120

Closed on 3/6/2002