Parchment leaves from a 15th century Book of Hours (use of Paris), encompassing: “[f]ifteen large miniatures, usually above 3 lines of text in arched compartments, surrounded by full borders of blue and gold acanthus, flowers, green pears, strawberries, and a particularly large number of grotesquesfrequently obscene.” [Ed. I think the name, ‘drolleries’, is probably closer to the mark]
“For three hundred years, from c. 1250 to c. 1550, the Book of Hours was the bestseller of the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance”.
The core of the Book of Hours is the Office of the Virgin Mary, with its set of prayers to be recited at home eight different times, or hours, of the day, just as monks chanted the office during the eight monastic hours.
Books of Hours still exist on the market in greater number than any other type of medieval manuscript.
Betrayal in the garden
Books of Hours are remarkably varied. Everyday versions were sometimes written on paper with modest ornamentation.
Deluxe versions were nearly always copied on fine parchment and richly illuminated with precious gold leaf and lapis lazuli by the best artists of the day.
Kings and queens, princes and princesses, doctors, lawyers, merchants, housewives, and even children, who learned to read from them, owned Books of Hours.
Wealthy women often received illuminated Books of Hours as dowry presents.
Recording in them milestones of family history, they passed them down from generation to generation as heirlooms.”