Catalog Archive
Auction 99, Lot 576

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Medieval Manuscripts

Period: 1470 (circa)

Publication: Book of Hours


2.8 x 3.8 inches
7.1 x 9.7 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, written in Bruges, Flanders, a center of manuscript production in the Middle Ages. The tiny leaf is richly embellished with 9 initials in red, blue and gold leaf. The first initial has a decoration of flowers in the margin. The rubrics are in red. The text is from the first hour of the day, Matins, Psalm 8.


Condition: A+

Estimate: $160 - $200

Sold for: $120

Closed on 6/12/2002