16th C. Renaissance French Book of Hours page, nice woodblocks #1 of 2

$55.00 CAD

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Two-sided page, first is numbered ‘li’.

Section titles in French, followed by Latin text:

  • D’un seule vierge…(from a single virgin…)
  • De plusieurs vierges…(from several virgins…)
  • Oraison pour nostre sainct pere le pape…(prayer for our holy father the pope…)
  • Oraison pour nostre mere saicte eglise…(prayer for our holy mother church…)
  • Oraison a nostre seigneur pour tous les chretiens…(prayer to our Lord for all Christians…)

Fantastic complex woodblock design: first page left border has flower motif, right has man working fields, woman, man playing with dog. Second page has animals (wolf, chickens, strange creatures) and humans.

Some coloured letters added at beginning of paragraphs and interspersed gold letters.

Printed on laid paper.

Some light browning on borders.

10.5 x 16 cm.


The book of hours is a Christian devotional book popular in the Middle Ages. It is the most common type of surviving medieval illuminated manuscript. Like every manuscript, each manuscript book of hours is unique in one way or another, but most contain a similar collection of texts, prayers and psalms, often with appropriate decorations, for Christian devotion. Illumination or decoration is minimal in many examples, often restricted to decorated capital letters at the start of psalms and other prayers, but books made for wealthy patrons may be extremely lavish, with full-page miniatures.

Books of hours were usually written in Latin (the Latin name for them is horae), although there are many entirely or partially written in vernacular European languages.

The typical book of hours is an abbreviated form of the breviary which contained the Divine Office recited in monasteries. It was developed for lay people who wished to incorporate elements of monasticism into their devotional life. Reciting the hours typically centered upon the reading of a number of psalms and other prayers.


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