Click here to skip to content

A Woman at a Church Service, in a Book of Hours

A Woman at a Church Service, in a Book of Hours

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1260

Shelfmark: Egerton MS 1151

Item number: f.50r

Length: 16

Width: 10.2

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

Early books of hours have types of pictures and decoration which tend not to appear in ones made later on, after the programme of subject matter for pictures and decoration became established. This book of hours includes unusual pictures and texts, such as the Hours of the Holy Spirit and of the Passion, which were exceptional in a prayerbook of the mid-13th century. Some of the texts were recommended in contemporary treatises for the devotions of anchoresses, suggesting that it was made originally for such a religious woman. Its calendar of saints' feasts include many that were associated with the West Midlands. The Hours of the Virgin was a gathering of Psalms and other biblical texts. It had been part of the prayerbook used by monks but became the core of the Book of Hours. This page shows part of the Hours of the Virgin, the beginning of the prayers for vespers, to be recited at sunset. The first letter of vespers shows a richly dressed woman kneeling behind two clerics who hold open books before an altar draped with white. The Book of Hours shown here shows scenes based on daily activity which differ from the established images seen in later examples. This picture may refer to the practice of lay people's meetings for prayer at hours outside of mass.

Search within this collection

Elsewhere on our websites

Newsletter

Latest events - register free online

Mobile app

For iPhone, iPad and Android

Report a Concern

What is the nature of your concern?

Report a Concern

What is the nature of your concern?

Email link to a friend

Write a brief note to accompany the email

Your friend's email address: