State Library of South AustraliaState Library of South Australia

Italian Book of hours [manuscript]

Catalogue record

Creator: Catholic Church [attributed to]

Place of Creation: Perugia, Italy

Date of creation : ca. 1375

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Format : Book, 115 x 90 x 45 mm

Originally believed to have been created in France, a thorough examination of this manuscript some years ago by Margaret Manion determined that it had in fact been created in Perugia, Italy. The script is a rounded gothic hand in brown ink, and there are numerous one line initials in blue or gold with red or blue flourishes throughout the text. There are also two-line gold initials, many with detailed flourishes extending the length of the page. In addition there are 19 thumb nail sized historiated initials [initial capitals that contain an illustration that is relevant to the particular passage] that are six lines high and which introduce the main sections of the book. These are very elaborate with foliate and knotted motifs, highlighted in white. The predominant colours are blue, yellow, orange green and pink with a lavish use of burnished gold.

Books of Hours contained appropriate prayers and readings for the hours of the day prescribed for worship, which are the same as those followed in The Antiphonal : Vespers, Matins, Lauds and so on. They could be decorated in a manner befitting the wealth and position of the owner, and designed to the owner's taste. Books of hours were personal prayer books, and usually small for portability.


Further reading


The Cambridge illuminations

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