The Hours of Philip the Bold

Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy


Duke Philip the Bold, founder of the Burgundian dynasty, entrusted his Dominican confessor Guillaume de Valen with the commission of this manuscript in 1376. He paid the professional scribe Jean L’Avenant for its completion in 1379, but had a few texts and images added in 1390. Philip is shown in prayer within the historiated initial on fol. 13r, with the (now erased) arms of Burgundy in the border beneath. Small miniatures throughout the volume include further images of Philip and members of his family.   

The Master of the Coronation Book of Charles V, who was responsible for this miniature, painted numerous images of King Charles V of France and members of his family. Here, Charles’ brother, Philip the Bold, is shown kneeling in prayer, with an open book – perhaps this very manuscript –beside him. Another open book – a Missal – rests beside the chalice on the altar before which Philip, the priest and acolyte kneel. The rubric above the image stipulates that the prayer written on this page is to be said between the beginning of the Mass and the first prayer of the Mass.

The facial types and the bold juxtaposition of contrasting opaque colours are typical of this artist.