hand written original antique illuminated Manuscript
leaf with hand colour decoration and Gold Embossed
lettering was hand written and
illuminated in 1450 A.D. by French Monks and was bound in
the Latin edition
of the Book of Hours from Northern France.
This magnificent single page original hand written &
coloured - on both sides - illuminated manuscript, on
vellum, with gold highlights, with 15 lines of single-column text, written in
black ink, painted dec. initials, line-fillers & versals
heightened in thick gold.
Because of the date and origin of this leaf it is highly
possible that this leaf could have been written and
illuminated by such famous Frenchmen as Vostre, de
Colines, and Tory.
A superb example of a mid 15th century hand written and
coloured illuminated manuscript.
The Book of Hours—
Was the main prayer book used in medieval Europe —
divided into eight sections (or "hours") that were meant
to be read at specific times of day. Each section
contained prayers, psalms, hymns, and other readings
intended to help the reader secure salvation for himself
and his departed loved ones.
The contents of Books of Hours varied according to the
owner's needs, interests, taste, and economic status,
but some elements were common. The heart of every Book
of Hours was a set of prayers called the Hours of the
Virgin, which sought the Virgin's assistance and
intercession. Other components included a calendar,
Gospel lessons, and penitential psalms.
During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, every member
of the middle and upper classes would have wanted to own
an illuminated Book of Hours. These treasured books were
given as gifts on special occasions, such as weddings,
and they often appeared in medieval wills, testifying to
their value and importance. A Book of Hours was often
the first and only book an individual owned in his or
her lifetime. In the most luxurious books, made for the
wealthiest patrons, each section was prefaced by a
miniature (illustration) and the texts were surrounded
by borders. More inexpensive versions contained fewer
miniatures and borders.
Illustrated manuscript Leaves - Before the
invention of printing from moveable type, around 1455,
all books were written by a scribe on parchment or
paper, though they were not always decorated. Thus,
every manuscript is unique, and represents hours of
labour. For liturgical texts, additional work was often
done by flourishers, illuminators and miniaturists,
which varied according to the wishes of the buyer.
During the late Middle Ages, the Book of Hours developed
as a popular devotional text for the laity, who would
recite the particular prayer for the hour of the day and
time of year according to the ecclesiastical calendar.
The accompanying illuminations and miniatures of saints,
the Virgin Mary, and Christ were not merely decoration;
they provided an opportunity for spiritual reflection
and prayer for salvation. Such precious books were
treasured by families, and bequeathed to subsequent
History of Books
- In their earliest form were handwritten and made of
leaves bound together at the side. This form was called
a codex. About fourth century AD, jurists found the
codex was more convenient than the roll for law books.
The Christian Church also preferred the codex form.
Parchment sheets were folded and gathered together, then
fastened at the fold. The word manuscript is from the
Latin libri manu scripti, which means “books written by
During the medieval and early Gothic, manuscripts were
produced by scribes in a monastic scriptorium. Because
of the flammable nature of some of the materials,
artificial light was forbidden. Most scriptoriums had
ample north facing windows. A scribe would laboriously
copy the text, leaving spaces for titles, notes,
illumination, and decorative devices.
Materials had to be prepared on site. Parchment or
vellum was used until the 15th century when paper became
more common. Parchment and vellum could be made from a
variety of animal skins, most commonly calf, sheep, or
goat. Vellum is a very fine and supple type of
parchment. After processing the skins, they were cut to
size and carefully ruled. Inks were made of iron gall
or lampblack. Coloured inks were made from either
mineral or plant materials. Most could be mixed with
egg white as a medium but some required special media to
preserve the colour. Gold powder or gold leaf was used
for illumination. Gold leaf was burnished after
There are several terms associated with manuscripts.
These terms have to do with different types of lettering
and illustration techniques. A Versal in an enlarged
first letter marking the beginning of a section of text.
Rubricated letters are letters or words written in red
ink for emphasis. Historiated letters are those that are
embellished to illustrate a story or convey further
meaning about a passage. They could also be Inhabited
letters, those containing a human or animal figure, or
Zoomorphic letters which are comprised of an animal
form. A Miniature is an independent painting or
illustration in a manuscript that generally illustrates
the text. Miniature derives not from the small size but
from the Latin word minum, which is a red pigment used
in paint. Illumination refers to manuscript decorations
and illustrations in colour and with burnished silver or
The texts of this time period were most often religious
in nature and written in Latin. Various types of texts
An Antiphonal is a
book containing music sung by a choir during the
A Book of Hours is
a book used for private devotions containing a
calendar, psalms, prayers, hymns, and Biblical
A Breviary is a
liturgical book used in celebrating the Divine
The Divine Office
is the daily Cycle of prayers and recitations
performed by Clergy.
A Missal is the
service book containing the necessary texts for
recitation of the Mass.
A Psalter is a
Book of Psalms often with a calendar.
Vellum thickness and quality: - Heavy and stable
Vellum colour: - White
Age of colour: - Original
Colours used: - Blue, red, yellow, gold
General colour appearance: - Beautiful and authentic
Page size: - 5in x 3 3/4in (128mm x 95mm)
Margins: - Min ˝in (12mm)
Margins: - None
Plate area: - None
Verso: - None