Book of Hours

The Master of James IV of Scotland


Active c. 1487-1526 probably in Ghent, the Master of James IV of Scotland was one of the most talented and sought after illuminators of the decades on either side of 1500. He is named after a Book of Hours commissioned by the king of Scotland as a gift for Margaret Tudor around the time of their wedding in 1503 (Vienna, ÖNB, MS 1897). He is tentatively identified with Gerard Horenbout, who was first documented in 1487 as a master in the painters’ guild in Ghent. Horenbout became the court painter of Margaret of Austria in 1515, but continued to live in Ghent until the 1520s when he left for England to work for Henry VIII.

The Master of James IV of Scotland contributed three large images of saints to this manuscript (fols. 166r, 168v, 180r). They demonstrate his skill as a portraitist and reveal his collaboration with the Painter of Additional 15677 who worked on some of the borders. The Master of James IV of Scotland may have also provided the small miniature of St Luke painting the Virgin and Child at the beginning of the Mass of the Virgin (fol. 36r), but the border on this page was executed by the Master of St Michael.