Books of Hours are prayer books for lay people containing cycles of prayers to be read at set hours of the day and night. Wealthy patrons in the late Middle Ages and the early Renaissance sought Books of Hours that were richly decorated by the leading artists of the time.
The elaborate programme of illuminations in this Book of Hours has been attributed to Simon Marmion (d. 1489), a famous painter and illuminator of the Flemish Hapsburg court, and his assistants, the Master of the Houghton Miniatures and the Master of the Dresden Prayer Book. Earlier in his career, Marmion was responsible for the illumination of grand secular volumes, including commissions for Margaret of York, but in his later years he is particularly associated with the production of delicate Books of Hours. The painterly style of the miniatures reflects Marmion’s work as a panel painter, while the illusionistic borders scattered with finely painted flowers and insects follow the latest fashions in Flemish-style manuscript illumination. Although the original owner is unknown, a group of prayers in French, including one to St Louis, suggest that the book was made for a French-speaker.
View images of the entire manuscripts via our Digitised Manuscripts website.
- Full title:
- Book of Hours, Use of Rome (The 'Huth Hours')
- 1485–1490, Netherlands, France
- Manuscript / Illuminated manuscript
- Latin / French
- Usage terms
Public Domain in most countries other than the UK.
- Held by
- British Library
- Add MS 38126
- Article by:
- Christianity, Sacred texts
Dr Scot McKendrick looks at manuscripts of the Bible prior to the invention of printing, exploring their contents and uses and answering the question of why there are so few manuscripts of the whole Bible.
- Article by:
- Eleanor Jackson
- Christianity, Devotional texts
Books of Hours were a popular feature of medieval Christianity in Europe. Dr Eleanor Jackson introduces their common features, uses and purposes, explaining features such as the Instruments of Christ’s Passion and the medieval veneration of saints.