Catalog Archive
Auction 99, Lot 570

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1400 (circa)

Publication: Book of Hours


4.5 x 7 inches
11.4 x 17.8 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 vellum leaf from a Book of Hours, written in France, about 600 years ago. The leaf is finely written in Batarde in brown ink, red rubrics, and illuminated with numerous initials and line fillers in red, blue and gold ink. The recto contains Psalm 117, the shortest psalm in the Bible: O, praise the Lord, all ye nations; praise him all ye people. For his merciful kindness is great towards us; and the truth of the Lord endureth forever. Praise ye the Lord.


Condition: A

Small defect hole in the vellum, not affecting text. Normal soil at corners.

Estimate: $160 - $200

Sold for: $130

Closed on 6/12/2002