1. THE DE BRAILES HOURS
The earliest surviving separate Book of Hours.
Produced around 1240 in Oxford, England, by William de Brailes for a
laywoman named Susanna. The book of 101 leaves (202 pages) contains
the Hours of the Virgin, the Penitential Psalms, the prayers (suffrages)
addressed to the saints, the Litany, collects, the Gradual Psalms. The
book was purchased by the English book collector C.W. Dyson Perrins from the
firm of J. Rosenthal in Munich in 1906. Since 1959 it has been in the
British Library of London.
2. HOURS OF JEANNE
Jeanne d'Evreux (1304-1371) was the
of Charles IV (1295-1328). The Book of Hours may be a wedding gift
from her husband (1325). The illuminations are the work of Jean Pucelle (d. 1334), who transformed book illumination in Paris of the
century. His work reflects strong Italianate influences. A
special feature of the book is the office honoring St. Louis IX (1214-1270),
who died during his second crusade. He was canonized in 1297.
St. Louis was the great-grandfather of both Jeanne and her husband Charles
IV. Jeanne willed her book to Charles V, who then gave it to his
brother Jean, the Duc de Berry. Sometime in the ninteenth century the book
was acquired by the Rothschild family. In 1953 it was purchased by the
Metropolitan Museum of New York. It is now part of the collection at
the Cloisters Museum of that city.
3. THE GRANDES
HEURES of Jean, duc de Berry
(1340-1516). Third son of John II (1319-1364), who is
called John the Good. The Duke of Berry was one of the wealthiest
patrons of all times. Of his seventeen castles only a few ruins remain.
His jewels are all gone. Gold and silver objects were melted down to
help pay his debts and also to finance the wars against the English.
Of his three hundred manuscripts (so estimated) about a third remain, ninty-three illuminated.
The Books of Hours are perhaps the most esteemed of these.
THE GRANDES HEURES is the largest Book of
Hours ever made. Someone had the job of finding the animal skins for
its 126 leaves. The decorations appear to be the work of several
artists and incorporated features found in other books that the Duke owned.
The grotesques that appear in the margins are often copies of adaptations of
those found in the Hours of Jeanne d'Evreux. The book was greatly
prized by the kings of France. Charles VIII had it rebound in 1488.
It is now in the Bibliotheque Nationale of Paris.
4. THE BELLES HEURES
of Jean, Duke of Berry. Work of the Limbourg brothers (Paul, Jean and
Herman), the most accomplished of the artists in the Duke's employ.
Dated 1408-1410. The 225 leaves contain ninty-four full-page miniatures,
column illustrations, initials and borders. An unusual feature of the
book are picture cycles giving the stories of St. Catherine of Alexandria,
St. Bruno (founder of the Carthusians), St. Jerome, St. Anthony Abbot and
John the Baptist (the Duke's patron saint), etc. At the Duke's death
in 1416, it was acquired by his niece, Yolande, Duchess of Anjou.
Edmond de Rothschild bought it from the Ailly family in 1880. In 1954,
is was acquried by the Cloisters Collection from Maurice de Rothschild.
5. THE TRES-RICHES
HEURES of the Duke de Berry. Recognized as the masterpiece
of the Limbourg Brothers who worked on it between 1411 and 1416 when death
overtook them. Other French illuminators were acquainted with the book
in the decades of 1416. Various details were copied or adapted by
them. Duke Charles I of Savoy and his wife, Blanche of Montferrat,
both descendants of the Duke through his daughter Bonne, acquired the book
near the end of the fifteenth century. They commissioned Jean Colombe of
Bourges to complete the decoration. The work was done between 1485 and
1490. The last owner of the Tres Riches Heures was the Duke of Aumale,
youngest son of the French King, Louis-Philippe. He acquired it in
1855 from the Baron Felix de Margherita of Turin and Milan. It is now
part of the collection at the castle of Chantilly, which the Duke of Aumale
created in an area north of Paris.
6. THE HOURS OF MARY OF BURGUNDY date
from around 1477. Mary was the only child of the last Duke of
Burgundy, Charles the Rash (1433-1477) who died in January of 1477 at Nancy,
battling the Swiss. Born in 1457, Mary married the Hapsburg Archduke
Maximillian of Austria a few months after her father's death. She died
in 1482 (after a hunting accident). She left two children, Margaret
and a son Philip, who also died young but not before he had become father to
the future Emperor Charles V. Mary was then ancestress to many
Hapsburgs. She and her father Charles are buried side by side in a
chapel of the Cathedral of Bruges, Belgium. There is no agreement
among the experts as to who the artist or artists responsible for the
decoration of Mary's Book of Hours happened to be. Now in Vienna's Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek.
7. THE GRANDES HEURES OF
ANNE OF BRITTANY. Anne (1477-1514)
was twice Queen of France, first in 1491 to Charles VIII (1470-1498) and
then in 1499 to Louis XII (1461-1515). Her Book of Hours was decorated
by Jean Bourdichon.
8. THE GRANDES
HEURES DE ROHAN date from around 1420. The unknown artist is
simply referred to as the Rohan Master. He appears acquainted with the
work of the Limbourg Brothers and with the Boucicault and Bedford Masters.
The book was most probably made for Yolanda of Aragon (1380-1443), widow of
Louis II, Duke of Anjou (1377-1417). The book is now in the
Bibliotheque National of Paris.
9. THE HOURS OF GIANGALEAZZO VISCONTI,
Duke of Milan. Giangaleazzo (1351-1402) overthrew his uncle Bernabo in
1378 and proceeded to extend his rule by a series of brilliant military
campaigns. Around 1388 he commissioned Giovannino dei Grassi, an
architect and painter to produce a Book of Hours. Dei Grassi was
already employed in building the new cathedral of Milan and the Carthusian
Monastaery in Pavia, both of which Giangaleazzo had also commissioned.
The artist died in 1398 after finishing the decoration of nearly half the
written pages. This was bound separately. Giangaleazzo's son,
Filippo Maria entrusted the decoration of the remaining pages to Belbello of
Pavia around 1428, at the time of his marriage to Maria of Savoy. Both
artist show a keen interest in animals and birds. The pages by Belbello contain a cycle of Old Testament scenes, an unusual feature in a
Book of Hours. Both sections of the book are now in Florence's
Biblioteca Nazionale since 1959.
10. THE HOURS OF CARDINAL ALESSANDRO FARNESE
were completed in 1546. The work of Giulio Clovio (born Juraij
Glovicic in Croatia in 1498). He died in the service of Cardinal
Farnese in 1578. The text was written by Francesco Monterchi,
secretary to Pier Luigi Farnese, Cardinal Allessandro's father. The
script is known as the chancery hand, much easier to read than the heavy
crowded gothic lettering of the other books we have seen.