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

Book of Hours of Louis of Orléans

Bourges (France) — 1490

Book of Hours of Louis of Orléans

Book of Hours of Louis of Orléans

Bourges (France) — 1490

  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

Libro de Horas de Luis de Orleans

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.

Book of Hours of Louis of Orléans

Lat. Q.v.I.126 National Library of Russia (St. Petersburg, Russia)
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
Book of Hours of Louis of Orléans – Lat. Q.v.I.126 – National Library of Russia (St. Petersburg, Russia)
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from 650 €
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

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 x 14.7 cm
Date
1490
Language
Illustrations
90 illuminations with lavish marginal decoration
Artist / School
Libro de Horas de Luis de Orleans

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.

2 available facsimile edition(s) of „Book of Hours of Louis of Orléans“

Libro de Horas de Luis de Orleans
Book of Hours of Louis of Orléans – Lat. Q.v.I.126 – National Library of Russia (St. Petersburg, Russia)
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Libro de Horas de Luis de Orleans

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
M. Moleiro Editor – Barcelona, 2002
Limited Edition
987 copies
Binding
Violet velvet
Commentary
1 volume (318 pages) by Ana Domínguez Rodríguez and Carlos Miranda García
Languages: Spanish, English
from 650 €
Edition available
Price: Login here!
Das Stundenbuch des Ludwig von Orléans
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Das Stundenbuch des Ludwig von Orléans

Publisher
Edition Leipzig – Leipzig, 1980
Limited Edition
980 copies
Regular price without login (like new)650 €
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