News | Published: Tue 1 Dec 2009

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New facsimile for Museum’s medieval manuscript

One of The Fitzwilliam Museum’s finest medieval illuminated manuscripts has been honoured with a limited-edition facsimile.

Made in the early sixteenth century, the Fitzwilliam Book of Hours is a sumptuously illustrated devotional text, produced in Bruges, Flanders. Combining exquisite devotional imagery with charming pictorial narrative, this beautiful version of what was the standard prayer book from the thirteenth century onwards is representative of the high point of the history of illumination in Flanders.

A facsimile edition of this Book of Hours has been produced by the Folio Society. Limited to 1,180 copies world-wide, this facsimile perfectly replicates the original’s 183 opulent pages.

About the Fitzwilliam Book of Hours

This manuscript was a collaborative project between four highly accomplished artists - three of whom we know to have been major representatives of the Flemish school of illumination and panel painting, with the fourth artist - the designer who masterminded this project - remaining more mysterious to us even today. This Book of Hours’ 183 pages are perfectly preserved, with its bright colours as vibrant as when they were first painted, despite having never been restored. "The Book of Hours was the bestseller of the Middle Ages," said Stella Panayotova, Keeper of Manuscripts and Printed Books at the Fitzwilliam. "and Books of Hours are still the most numerous and most appealing type of manuscripts that go through salesrooms today."


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