Book of Hours


This 15th century Book of Hours belonged to Victor Emmanuel II, king of Sardinia from 1849 to 1861 and the first king of united Italy from 1861 until his death in 1878. According to the scholar Robert Amiet, the manuscript is, from the liturgical point of view, a composite work, made by a copyist who had a variety of versions of Books of Hours at his disposal. The daily calendar clearly had a Parisian origin, while the litanies, the Hours of the Virgin, and the Hours of the Dead were inspired by the illuminated manuscripts produced at the Abbey of Citeaux. The manuscript was made for a noble Burgundian family, that of Guillaume de Trestondans (died 1475), whose coat of arms is found on the bottom margin of folio 29 recto. The coat of arms of the family of Guillaume’s wife, Marie de Baissey, is found at folio 82 verso, while folio 166 verso preserves the coat of arms of his mother, Henriette de Saint-Seine. The work contains two mottos, which most likely are related to the Trestondans family: “Plus panser que dire” (Better to think than to speak) at folios 21 verso and 23 recto, and “Tousiours ie danse” (I always dance) at folio 34 recto. The manuscript was bought by the Royal Library of Turin in 1843 for 700 lire. This is known from the draft of a letter, preserved in the Promis Archive of the library, from Domenico Promis to Carlo Alberto I (1798–1849), king of Sardinia, duke of Savoy, and father of Victor Emmanuel II, regarding a proposal to sell the manuscript to the royal library.

Date Created

Subject Date


Title in Original Language

Libro d'Ore

Type of Item

Physical Description

171 leaves (22 lines), bound : parchment, color illustration ; script 11.2 x 6.3 centimeters


  1. Giovanna Giacobello Bernard, editor, Biblioteca Reale Torino (Florence: Nardini, 1990).
  2. Robert Amiet, “Catalogues des livres liturgiques manuscrits et imprimés conservés dans les bibliothèques et les archieves de Turin,” in Bollettino storico-bibliografico subalpino 77, 1979.

Last updated: October 17, 2017