Book of Hours, Use of Rome


Book of Hours, Use of Rome

Flemish (probably Bruges), last quarter 15th century

folio with Saint Matthew (fols. 37v-38r)
folio with Virgin praying at the cross
folio with Annunciation
folio with Visitation and Flight into Egypt
folio with text

height 13.4 cm
width 10 cm

149 leaves (13.5 x 10 cm), Burgundian bâtard script. 14 lines. Gatherings mostly of 8. Text in Latin: Hours of the Cross, of the Holy Spirit, Masses, Gospel Lesson, Hours of the Virgin, Psalms, Litany. 34 miniatures, borders of acanthus and flower sprays, and illusionistic borders displaying flowers, insects, etc. Binding: French red morocco with gold tooling. 18th c. Modern solander case.

Provenance: Fovine family (inscription in an Italian hand, 1545-46); Jacques Comte de Foncina (inscription, 18th c.?)

Mount Angel Abbey Library, Ms 67


Jeff Brown, Medieval Portland Research Assistant

This manuscript, decorated with deep, naturalistic landscapes and illusionistic, trompe l’oeil borders in the Ghent-Bruges style, is the product of a workshop in the southern Netherlands during the late fifteenth or early- to mid-sixteenth century. Also distinctive is the layout of the text: comprised of only two sections, the prayerbook lacks the customary calendar and the Office of the Dead.

The appearance of an arquebus, one of the earliest known images of the proto-firearm, and landscapes frequently populated by warriors in shiny black armor suggests a patron with military interests.


Diebold, William. The Illustrated Book in the Age of Printing: Books and Manuscripts from Oregon Collections. Portland, OR: Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery, 1993, p. 5 - Quoted with permission

11. Book of Hours, Use of Rome
Bruges, illuminated by the Master of the Dresden Prayerbook or his workshop, last quarter of the 15th century
Mount Angel Abbey Library, MS 67
Fols. 37v-38r: Evangelist Matthew and text page

26a. Hartmann Schedel, Liber chronicarum (Nuremberg Chronicle)
Nuremberg, printed by Anton Koberger, 1493
Multnomah County Library W093
Fols. 45v-46r: Pisa and England

These two books, almost exact contemporaries, introduce many of the major themes of The Illustrated Book in the Age of Printing. Although both were produced in major artistic centers and are of the finest technical quality, there are vast differences between them. Number 11 is a manuscript, the text written and the images painted on parchment. By contrast, both the woodcut illustrations and the text of number 26a are printed.

This difference in the way the two books were produced clearly affected their appearance. The range of bright colors in the manuscript could not be duplicated by fifteenth-century printers, but the Nuremberg Chronicle makes the most of the stark black-and white aesthetic produced by printer's ink on paper. The woodcuts, with their strong horizontal and vertical lines, are well harmonized to the right angles of the text block. In the manuscript, on the other hand, there is a productive tension among the flat page, the receding perspective spaces of the miniature, and the illusionistically painted flora and fauna of the borders. There are also economic and social differences between the two books. Number 11, like all manuscripts, is unique; it was probably custom-made for a patron. By contrast, the original press run of the Nuremberg Chronicle ran into the thousands, making it available to a broader public.


Wilma Fitzgerald, PhD, SP - Quoted with permission from an unpublished study

Liber horarum (use of Rome). ca. 1500. Flanders. FF. ii (paper)+ ii (vellum) + 148 + ii.  134 x 97(70 x 48) mm., 14 lines in bâtard script. 34 miniatures: Crucifixion, Agony in the Garden, Arrest of Christ, Flagellation and Mocking of Christ, Carrying of the Cross, Crucifixion, Deposition, Entombment, Pentecost, Annunciation, Nativity, Pentecost, Men praying before Altar with falling idols and Apostles preaching the Holy Spirit in the temple, Men praying to Trinity and Apostles adore the Holy Spirit, Trinity, Last Judgment, Virgin and Child adored by angels, John, Luke, Matthew, Mark, Annunciation, Birth of the Virgin, Visitation, Nativity, Annunciation to the Shepherds, Adoration of the Magi, Circumcision, Massacre of the Innocents, Flight into Egypt with miracle of the cornfield and Massacre of the Innocents, Virgin and Child, David and Goliath, Last Judgment. Full painted borders with flora, fauna, and grotesques on most pages with miniatures. Illusionistically painted panel borders with flora and fauna on top, bottom, and left margins of all pages with 3-line initials, Floral panel borders on top, bottom, and left margins of all pages with 2-line initials. Some 3-line initials in red and blue on burnished gold. Many 2-line initials in white on powdered gold ground. Numerous 1-line initials in white or gold on red or blue ground. Modern binding of red leather stamped in gold. Manuscript is kept in a red leather solander box stamped in gold on spine: "Horae Illuminated Manuscript/Flemish Late 15th Cent." Solander box signed by Gerhard Gerlach. Former owners: Fovine Family 1543-1546; and Jacques, Comte de Concina 18th century. See Parshall, no. 15, pp. 36-37.

Short hours of Cross, Hours of Holy Spirit, Mass of Virgin, Gospel sequences, Hours of the Virgin. 7 Penitential psalms, and litany.