Book of Hours – September 2009

Image of the Shepherds calendar with three shepherds looking up to the sky with a farm and sheep in the background.
Page showing the Shepherds calendar from Catholic Church. Enchiridion p[re]clare ecclesie Sarum: deuotissimis precationibus, ac venutissimis imaginib[us] et ijs quidem non paucis refertum.
(Parisijs: Ex officina libraria vidue spectabilis viri Thielmanni Keruer, 1528)
(Robinson Collection, Robinson 325)

This Catholic Book of Hours dates from 1528. It is part of the Robinson Collection – bequeathed in 1998 by Marjorie Robinson, widow of antiquarian bookseller, Philip.

A book of hours is a primer, or horae, containing devotions and prayers for private use, in imitation of the prayer-life of ecclesiastics. Often, the Hours of the Virgin are attached to the Psalter and liturgical calendars, suffrages and a litany of the saints may also be appended.

The book of hours was in general use into the Sixteenth Century. This one, like most, is beautifully illuminated. It is a small object – a duodecimo -, on vellum and with the remnants of a brown cloth binding, with blue velvet spine, a metal centrepiece, four metal cornerpieces, an ornamental metal clasp and gilt edges.

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