Book of Hours Ms. 459

Angelica Library

Dated: Early 15th century
Author: Unknown in French literature

Folio measurements: 235×160 mm.

Genre: Book of prayers
Miniatures: Present

The Book of Hours (MS 459) is a compendium of devotional texts for use by the laity, modelled on the Breviary of the Clergy, the core of which was constituted by the Office of the Virgin. This Latin manuscript, on parchment, in French Gothic minuscule, was produced in France in the first half of the 15th century. It has been richly illustrated with 15 full-page miniatures with gilding.  Books of Hours began to be widely distributed beginning in the middle of the 13th century. They then became extraordinarily popular in the 14th and 15th centuries, especially in France and the Low Countries, when collective prayer, uttered verbally and aloud, began to be replaced by prayer that was recited silently and was therefore more personal. Simply possessing one of these books was considered an assurance of protection, almost as if they were amulets to be carried about. 

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