Book of Hours

Description

This Book of Hours was created in northeastern France in the early 14th century, possibly for the marriage of Louis I of Châtillon (died 1346) and Jeanne of Hainaut, as the Châtillon de Blois arms are depicted on folios 19 recto and 81 verso, and the arms of Hainaut also appear in the borders, including in conjunction with the Châtillon arms on folio 19 recto. The manuscript is exceptional for the abundance of drolleries and lively hybrids that inhabit nearly every page. Stylistically these images have been linked to a workshop in the Artois region, possibly based in Arras, in northeast France. Although the manuscript is incomplete, lacking its calendar and likely some images, its surviving illumination provides an excellent example of the playfulness of art during this period. The first folio with miniatures and last two folios were added early in the work’s existence. It is written in textura formata (a formal Gothic script found in elaborate manuscripts of the period), with the text in black ink and rubrics in red. Three artists’ hands are distinguishable. The highest-quality images are by the first artist on folios 51 recto and 81 verso; the secondary artist is responsible for historiated initials in the Hours of the Virgin; and a third and less-skilled artist is responsible for the remaining miniatures. The main decorative elements are: eight miniatures (two full-page, added early) and five extant historiated initials set within heavy gold architectural frames (to a depth of 10‒13 lines); decorated illuminated initials at secondary text divisions (two lines); borders around text and line fillers found intermittently throughout, with line fillers containing hybrids, dragons, fish, animals, and foliage.

Last updated: October 17, 2017