Catalog Archive
Auction 99, Lot 572

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1400 (circa)

Publication: Book of Hours


4.5 x 6.5 inches
11.4 x 16.5 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 clean vellum leaf from a French Book of Hours. The text is written in bold and easily readable Gothic letters in brown ink with red rubrics. The recto includes two finely illuminated initials in gold leaf and two smaller initials in red, blue and gold. The verso is decorated with one elegant initial in gold leaf. A translation of the Latin verse on verso is: O omnipotent, eternal God, grant to us that grace of the Holy Ghost that thou didst transmit to thy disciples on that holy day of Pentecost.


Condition: A

Remnants of hinge tape on top margin.

Estimate: $150 - $180

Sold for: $160

Closed on 6/12/2002