READING THE HOURS: A REMARKABLE EXAMPLE WITH NEARLY 50 PICTURES
In Latin (with some French), illuminated manuscript on parchment
Belgium, Brussels, c. 1460 and Lille, c. 1475
With 34 large semi-grisaille miniatures and 5 small miniatures by the Master of the Grisailles Fleurdelisées; 10 large coloured miniatures by the Master of Johannes Gielemans.
An unprecedented number of people desired and valued Books of Hours in the later Middle Ages and beyond. Did owners read their Books of Hours or were they status symbols filled with costly paintings? Or both? We do encounter accounts of people reading their Books of Hours, and some even contain paintings of their owners praying with book in hand! Apart from its interesting grisaille (shades of grey and white) paintings and its remarkably large number of pictures (nearly fifty in total), the present manuscript is unique in that it includes page after page of people, often women, reading from their manuscripts, even when the text calls for no such representation.