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2002 articles 1988 articles

The Hastings Hours and the Master of 1499

Bodo Brinkmann


THE book of hours once belonging to William, Lord Hastings (now BL, Additional MS. 54782) is both a fascinating historical document and a work of art of the highest quality. It is of interest to the student of English history because of the important role Hastings played at the court of Edward IV. More specifically, having been produced and illuminated in Flanders, the manuscript appears to be an appropriate testimony to the connections between England and Burgundy which Hastings's diplomacy helped to establish.' To the student of Flemish art it is important as one of the early masterpieces of a group of illuminators of the so-called *Ghent Bruges School', who achieved a remarkable standard of technical skill and realistic representation. The exact place of the Hastings Hours in the history of the Ghent-Bruges School has, however, not yet been determined and, as we shall see, the attribution of this manuscript is far from clear. This is at least partially due to the fact that the Hastings Hours was in private hands until 1968 and therefore comparatively little studied. Thus the late D. H. Turner, in his brilliant introduction to the facsimile edition, drew largely upon the broad range of valuable information on the owner himself and gave only a brief and sensible summary of art historical opinion on the manuscript.

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