Catalog Archive
Auction 99, Lot 573

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1400 (circa)

Publication: Book of Hours


4.5 x 6.3 inches
11.4 x 16 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 nice vellum manuscript leaf written in a very neat Gothic bookhand. The decorations are quite simple but beautifully executed. Each side includes several initials in delicate blue and red penwork with some burnished gold leaf. The text is from the Hours of the Virgin, the Matins, the first prayers of the day.


Condition: A

Estimate: $160 - $200

Sold for: $130

Closed on 6/12/2002