Book of Hours

Hours of the Virgin

Texts and Images

The Hours of the Virgin, the core text in Books of Hours, is a simplified version of the Office of the Virgin which enjoyed an ever growing popularity from the 10th century onwards. In this manuscript, the Hours of the Virgin follow the liturgical use of Rome, which was very widespread by c. 1500 and offers no clues as to origin or provenance. Each of the eight canonical hours of prayer received figural scenes with full borders. The first hour, Matins, opens with a large miniature of the Annunciation and a full historiated border showing God addressing Moses from the Burning Bush and Moses receiving the Tablets of the Law. The remaining seven offices begin with historiated initials, most of them showing important events in the Virgin’s life, and full historiated or strewn-flower borders. Ordinary text pages have ornamental initials and strewn-flower border panels.