Book of Hours of Louis of Orléans

Book of Hours of Louis of Orléans

Bourges (France) — 1490

90 elegant miniatures and a portrait of the future King of France: a masterpiece by Jean Colombe for Louis Duke of Orléans, the later King Louis XII

  1. This lavish prayer book was made by master illuminator Jean Colombe for Louis, Duke of Orléans (1462–1515)

  2. The manuscript is adorned with 90 elegant miniatures and a portrait of the eventual King Louis XII (1462–1515)

  3. The unusual bordure decoration is a fantastic mix of flowers, birds, exotic animals, and monsters

Book of Hours of Louis of Orléans

Lat. Q.v.I.126 National Library of Russia (St. Petersburg, Russia)
from 650 €
Edition available
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  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (2)
Description
Book of Hours of Louis of Orléans

The Book of Hours of Louis de Orléans originates from the French city of Bourges in 1490. It was designed by the illuminator Jean Colombe and a few of the artistic colleagues of his studio. The small manuscripts captivates through its exceptional illumination. Alongside 90 elegant miniatures, the pages of the work are adorned with elaborately decorated bordures with flower and animal patterns.

Book of Hours of Louis de Orléans

Books of hours were probably the most popular book genre of the Middle Ages. The codices were made for prayer and private devotion and were especially widespread among the nobility. The Book of Hours of Louis de Orléans is a spectacular example of these popular manuscripts. The illuminated manuscript is adorned with 90 elegant miniatures in elaborately patterned frames. Today the valuable original edition of the book of hours is found in the Russian National Library in St. Petersburg.

A Manuscript of the King of France

The lavish prayer book was decorated by a French master, Jean Colombe, and the staff of his studio. The artists were guided by the work of the painter Jean Bourdichons, one of the most influential French illuminators of the Middle Ages. The work originates from the year 1490. It was signed by Louis, Duke of Orléans, of the house of Valois. In 1498, Louis was crowned King Louis XII of France (1462–1515). Next to the signature at the beginning of the manuscript is a portrait of Louis indicating him as the owner of the manuscript. Louis XII was a great lover and patron of the arts. One of France’s most outstanding illuminated manuscripts originates from his commission.

Extraordinary Illumination

In a small format of 21 by 14.7 cm, the manuscript is especially appealing due to its exceptional book decoration. The sophisticated pictorial conception of the work is truly unusual for a book of hours. The pages of the work are adorned with splendid floral decoration and the 90 miniatures show series of various biblical motifs. The decorative bordures display, along with floral decoration, images of birds, exotic animals, and fantastical monsters. Parts are traversed with aphorisms, which capture the themes of the prayers and miniatures.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Libro de Horas de Luis de Orleans
Stundenbuch des Ludwig von Orléans
Libro d’Ore di Luigi d’Orleans
Livre d’Heures de Louis d’Orléans
Livro de Horas de Luís de Orleans
Size / Format
232 pages / 21.5 × 14.7 cm
Origin
France
Date
1490
Language
Illustrations
90 miniatures with lavish marginal decoration
Artist / School

Available facsimile editions:
Book of Hours of Louis of Orléans – Lat. Q.v.I.126 – National Library of Russia (St. Petersburg, Russia)
M. Moleiro Editor – Barcelona, 2002
Limited Edition: 987 copies

Das Stundenbuch des Ludwig von Orléans
Edition Leipzig – Leipzig, 1980
Limited Edition: 980 copies
Detail Picture

Book of Hours of Louis of Orléans

Parlor Scene

Since they were usually patronized by laypersons, books of hours often contained scenes from daily life like this. The visitor entering though the door on the right with hat in one hand and a bell in the other is likely a messenger. He is greeted by two dogs and a young man in fine garments, which are highlighted with strokes of gold ink. As a woman tends the fireplace behind him, a man in a gold cloak with a wide blue collar and cap appears to rise in order to greet the visitor.

Libro de Horas de Luis de Orleans
Single Page

Book of Hours of Louis of Orléans

The Creation of Eve

In Genesis, Eve is created from the rib of Adam in the Garden of Eden, depicted here as a walled medieval garden with fruit trees, streams, and fountains. Jean Colombe depicts Eve’s creation by showing Adam asleep on the ground as she is drawn from his side. The miniature boasts an unusual color palette dominated by shades of pink and green with a frame of gold and purple.

A group of angels looks on in the background while the manuscript’s patron, Louis, kneels in the foreground, watching with hands folded in prayer. He is wearing a brown, fur-trimmed coat and a codex lies open in front of him, likely meant to be the book of hours at hand. Eden’s defenses, from windows to parapets, are depicted with a similar level of detail.

Libro de Horas de Luis de Orleans
Facsimile Editions

#1 Libro de Horas de Luis de Orleans

M. Moleiro Editor – Barcelona, 2002
Book of Hours of Louis of Orléans – Lat. Q.v.I.126 – National Library of Russia (St. Petersburg, Russia)
Book of Hours of Louis of Orléans – Lat. Q.v.I.126 – National Library of Russia (St. Petersburg, Russia) Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Publisher: M. Moleiro Editor – Barcelona, 2002
Limited Edition: 987 copies
Binding: Dark purple velvet according to the original from the 18th century
Commentary: 1 volume (318 pages) by Ana Domínguez Rodríguez and Carlos Miranda García-Tejedor
Languages: Spanish, English
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
from 650 €
Edition available
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#2 Das Stundenbuch des Ludwig von Orléans

Edition Leipzig – Leipzig, 1980
Das Stundenbuch des Ludwig von Orléans
Das Stundenbuch des Ludwig von Orléans Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Publisher: Edition Leipzig – Leipzig, 1980
Limited Edition: 980 copies
Binding: Tan leather
Commentary: 1 volume by Andreï B. Sterligov
Language: German
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Price Category: € (under 1,000€)
Edition available
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