Catalog Archive
Auction 99, Lot 569

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1400 (circa)

Publication: Book of Hours


2.5 x 3.5 inches
6.4 x 8.9 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 small leaf from a Book of Hours, use of Utrecht. The size of this leaf points to the ownership of a lady, as it was sized it fit in her pocket. The text is neatly written in littera textualis, in dark brown ink, with many initials in red and blue (Red ink was made with lead oxide and blue with powdered lapis lazuli). The text is part of the famous Te Deum (Hymn of Saints Ambrose and Augustine).


Condition: A

Minor stain along binding margin.

Estimate: $110 - $150

Sold for: $80

Closed on 6/12/2002