13 miniatures by the famous Parisian Bedford Master and a biography of Margaret de Berry: a masterpiece of the golden age of French illumination

Book of Hours of Margaret of Bourbon

Mid 15th century

Book of Hours of Margaret of Bourbon

Book of Hours of Margaret of Bourbon

— Mid 15th century

  1. A work from the great golden age of French illumination around the middle of the 15th century

  2. The 13 miniatures are attributed to the workshop of the Bedford Master

  3. The codex includes a later-appended French text by Alexis Paulin, a biography of Marguerite de Bourbon (1438–83)

Book of Hours of Margaret of Bourbon

Alternative Titles:
  • Libro de Horas de Margarita de Borbón
  • Stundenbuch der Marguerite de Bourbon
Book of Hours of Margaret of Bourbon – Reg. 6 – Biblioteca Lázaro Galdiano (Madrid, Spain)
Book of Hours of Margaret of Bourbon – Reg. 6 – Biblioteca Lázaro Galdiano (Madrid, Spain)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

The so-called Book of Hours of Margaret of Bourbon, which is housed today in Madrid, is resplendent with exuberant miniature pages and embellishing initials and bordures. As a work from the great golden age of French illumination around the middle of the 15th century it stands in the tradition of the art of the Bedford Master, to whose workshop the artistic furnishings are attributed. The manuscript was in the possession of Marguerite de Bourbon, the daughter of Duke Charles I de Bourbon. The book of hours served someone who was associated with numerous important personalities of that time as a private devotional book for spiritual immersion in prayer. Nevertheless, it is a true treasure of illumination that continues to amaze all who behold it.

Book of Hours of Margaret of Bourbon

The so-called Book of Hours of Margaret of Bourbon, which is housed today in Madrid, is resplendent with exuberant miniature pages and embellishing initials and bordures. As a work from the great golden age of French illumination around the middle of the 15th century it stands in the tradition of the art of the Bedford Master, to whose workshop the artistic furnishings are attributed. The manuscript was in the possession of Marguerite de Bourbon, the daughter of Duke Charles I de Bourbon. The book of hours served her, whose life and name stand in association with numerous important personalities of that time, as a private devotional book for spiritual immersion in prayer. Nevertheless, it continues to amaze the eyes of its beholders as a true treasure of illumination to this day.

The Ducal Owner

Marguerite de Bourbon (1438–1483) was the daughter of Charles I de Bourbon and Agnes of Burgundy. Her lifetime overlaps with an enormously interesting historical period. From her marriage with Count Philip von Bresse, the eventual Duke of Savoy, came two children who would occupy an important position in history. Their son Philibert the Fair, successor of his father as Duke of Savoy, was married to Margarete of Austria, a daughter of Emperor Maximilian I; their daughter, Luise de Savoy was the mother of the later French King Francois I. As a result, Marguerite de Bourbon stands in direct relationship to the great names and important personalities of the 15th century.

Connection to the Bedford Master

The splendid manuscript known as the Book of Hours of Margaret of Bourbon was made by great masters of their field. The book of hours is presumed to originate in France ca. 1430-40. The miniatures are attributed to the workshop of the Bedford Master. The famous miniaturist was active in Paris ca. 1405–1465 and is counted today among the most important illuminators of his time. The manuscript is adorned with 13 magnificent miniature pages and exuberant bordures. Numerous precious initials adorn the Latin text in gorgeous Gothic script.

Impressive Miniature Pages

The true treasures of the Book of Hours of Margaret of Bourbon are the 13 brightly colored miniatures: they present magnificent scenes, e.g. in the miniature of the Annunciation. The angel conveys the happy tidings to Maria with a scroll. The scene plays out in an inner space under artful Gothic vaults and behind an embellishing column. Above the scene sits God the Father enthroned in a blue circle with a gesture of benediction. The exuberant trim around the miniature stands in direct competition for the favor of the viewer. The miniature with a short text section is surrounded by a thin border and a splendid initial. Surrounding it, the whole page is adorned with embellishing, floral tendrils and foliage. Bright colors alternate with precious glimmering gold.

A Precious Private Devotional Book

With a format of 22 x 15 cm, the manuscript is relatively large for a private book of hours. Such books of hours were widely circulated throughout the entire Middle Ages. They served for private devotion and were in a small format so that one could carry them along. Members of the nobility and the rich bourgeoisie had precious and splendid specimens with magnificent illustrations made by the best miniaturists of their time. So was it also with the Book of Hours of Margaret of Bourbon. The manuscript, however, displays a curious feature: found on the first page is a later-appended French text by Alexis Paulin. He describes the book of hours and give anecdotal information about the biography of Marguerite de Bourbon. The Book of Hours of Margaret of Bourbon can be counted among the highpoints of 15th century illumination with it its exceptionally qualitative miniatures and magnificent ornamental bordures.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Libro de Horas de Margarita de Borbón
Stundenbuch der Marguerite de Bourbon
Size / Format
304 pages / 22.0 x 15.0 cm
Date
Mid 15th century
Style
Gothic
Language

1 available facsimile edition(s) of „Book of Hours of Margaret of Bourbon“

Libro de Horas de Margarita de Borbón
Book of Hours of Margaret of Bourbon – Reg. 6 – Biblioteca Lázaro Galdiano (Madrid, Spain)
Book of Hours of Margaret of Bourbon – Reg. 6 – Biblioteca Lázaro Galdiano (Madrid, Spain)
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Libro de Horas de Margarita de Borbón

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Scriptorium – Valencia, 2006
Limited Edition
250 copies
Binding
Velvet, identical to the original
Commentary
1 volume by Elisa Ruiz García, Anna Muntada Torrellas, Juan A. Yeves Andrés and Josep Joan Vidal
Language: Spanish
More Information
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: €€€ (3,000€ - 7,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!
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