Catalog Archive
Auction 99, Lot 575

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1400 (circa)

Publication: Book of Hours


4 x 6.2 inches
10.2 x 15.7 cm
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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.

Lovely vellum leaf from a French Book of Hours. Each side is embellished with several initials and line fillers painted with red, blue, and white and highlighted with burnished gold leaf. The text is from the Canticle of Zachary, Luke 1:70. Partially translated: As he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets: that are from the beginning. Salvation from our enemies: and from the hand of all that hate us. To work mercy with our fathers: and to remember his holy testament. The oath, which he swore to Abraham our father: that he would give to us. That without fear being delivered from the hand of our enemies: we may serve him. In holiness and justice before him: all our days. And thou child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest.


Condition: A+

Estimate: $170 - $220

Sold for: $170

Closed on 6/12/2002