Books of Hours are among the most striking examples of medieval illuminated manuscripts. Commissioned by wealthy men and women for their private religious devotions, these beautifully decorated books contain prayers for the eight canonical hours of the day.
This book reproduces seventeen jewel-like miniature paintings by Simon Marmion from one of the finest Books of Hours in the Huntington Library's collections. Marmion, one of the most accomplished illuminators of the fifteenth century, produced this example sometime between 1450 and 1475. The French manuscript Book of Hours displays a number of scenes from the life of the Virgin Mary. The book's introduction discusses the history and meaning of Books of Hours, both as books of devotion and as works of art.
James Thorpe is a distinguished scholar and former director of the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens from 1966-1983. He was Professor of English at Princeton for many years and has written numerous works on authors from Chaucer to Wallace Stevens. He is now a Senior Research Associate at the Huntington.
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