Additional 49999, f.1

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From around the middle of the thirteenth century, books of hours became the most popular type of illuminated manuscript. Private prayer books, these books contain an abbreviated form of the divine offices followed by monks and nuns, allowing lay people to follow a similar pattern of regular worship at particular hours of each day. This remarkable copy, made around 1240, is the earliest surviving English book of hours. The artist who made it signs himself ‘W. de Brailes’ and it seems very likely that he was the William de Brailes who lived in Catte Street in Oxford around 1230–1260, with his wife Selina. At this time Catte Street was mostly inhabited by people involved in the book arts. At the beginning of the manuscript is the hour of Matins of the Virgin, illustrated by images of the Betrayal, the Scourging of Christ, the Mocking of Christ, and Peter’s third denial, with Peter shown weeping outside of the frame of what may be an initial D(omine) of the first word (Lord).  
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