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The Binding Of 'The De Brailes Hours'

The Binding Of 'The De Brailes Hours'

Medium: Binding

Date: 1240

Shelfmark: Additional MS 49999

Item number: Binding

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

William de Brailes is the only 13th-century English non-monastic illuminator known to have signed his work. His surname means 'from Brailes', a town in Warwickshire, about 30 miles north of Oxford. Documentary sources reveal that he lived and worked in Oxford, with his wife Celena, in a bookmaking community based around the present site of the chapel of All Souls College. His distinctive painting style has been recognised in several manuscripts, of which this is perhaps the most important. It is the earliest extant English Book of Hours (a book containing prayers to be said at certain hours of the day), and includes two self-portraits. It has been proposed that this is the manuscript's original 13th-century binding, but it is more likely to be a 15th-century replacement.

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