Book of Hours of Marguerite d’Orléans

Book of Hours of Marguerite d’Orléans – Quaternio Verlag Luzern – Ms. latin 1156B – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)

Rennes, Bourges and Paris (France) — Ca. 1426–1430 and ca. 1450

Featuring scenes of historical events, jousting tournaments, or ships being loaded in port: a beautiful book of hours for the granddaughter of King Charles V of France, adorned with 41 full-page miniatures

  1. Countess Margaret of Orleans (1406-1466) was the granddaughter of King Charles V of France and grandniece of the great bibliophile Jean Duc de Berry

  2. 41 miniatures and 24 calendar medallions with labors of the month offer a glimpse of 15th century life

  3. Historical events, jousting knights, devout pilgrims, and ships being unloaded in a harbor are depicted

Book of Hours of Marguerite d’Orléans

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  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
Book of Hours of Marguerite d’Orléans

The Book of Hours of Marguerite d’Orléans originates from ca. 1426 and was created by a court illuminator who was known as the “Master of Marguerite d’Orléans.” The magnificent example contains some of the most beautiful miniatures of its epoch and is embroidered by its decorative borders, which frame the pages. Altogether it contains 41 luminously colored miniatures, framed with borders that present historical events, as well as 24 calendar medallions in gold frames. Contemporary scenes of medieval life are presented in never-before-seen variety and narrative delight. Marguerite d’Orléans was the granddaughter of King Charles V and great niece of the famous bibliophile Duke Jean de Berry. The manuscript features numerous monograms and the combined coat-of-arms of Margeurite and her husband Richard d´Etampes, Duke of Brittany, who probably commissioned the book of hours, which remained in possession of the French Crown for generations.

Book of Hours of Marguerite d’Orléans

Books of hours are private prayer- and devotional books for the laity. The name correlates to the time of day or the particular hour of the day, at which time one should pray. In the Late Middle Ages, books of hours were especially beloved among the French nobility and were quite common. A prominent work of this kind is the Book of Hours of Marguerite d’Orléans, a magnificent codex that was begun around 1426 and was finished around 1450. Its fame continues to this day. The masterpiece contains 420 pages with 41 luminously colored miniatures, framed with borders that present historical events. Furthermore, there are 24 calendar medallions in gold frames. The work offers a artistically valuable overview of life in the 15th century.

A Personal Work for the Book Aficionado

Marguerite d’Orléans was the granddaughter of King Charles V and the great niece of Duke Jean de Berry. Both members of the French high nobility were known lovers of art and collectors of books and founded with their collections of books the modern French National Library. Marguerite had her private book of hours created by her personal illuminator, who was known after this masterpiece as the “Master of Marguerite d’Orléans.” Later she had it augmented with contemporary decorative elements by Étienne Sauderat, an illuminator from the milieu of the Bedford masters. The personal character of the codex is highlighted by numerous depictions of the monogram and the combined coat-of-arms of Margeurite and her husband Richard d´Etampes. He was the Duke of Brittany and was probably the official commissioner of the book of hours.

A Pioneering Master of Illumination

The Master of Marguerite d’Orléans was very likely a student of the highly respected master Boucicaut. His configuration of the excellent book of hours for his commissioner was guided by its incomparable style of painting. The master was also influenced by the famous Limburg brothers for his work. The master, who before his work specialized more in works of secular literature, combined ancient sagas and legends with contemporary events. Thus he created an expansive work that had influence beyond French borders, which it holds to this day.

The Entire Medieval World in one Book

The Book of Hours of Marguerite d’Orléans is a milestone of the Middle Ages. 41 gaily colored and sometimes gold decorated miniatures show depictions of the saints and scenes from the New Testament. The borders, which frame the pages of the book, depict an abundance of historical events from every time period and are counted among the most beautiful book decorations of its epoch. They present medieval life in diverse ways, they show knights in tournaments and battles, pilgrims on their strenuous journey to Santiago de Compostela, or simple everyday actions such as the loading and unloading of ships in a harbor. The elaborately worked Moroccan leather binding was added by the book binder of Louis XV. Consequently the masterly book of hours received an appropriate receptacle.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Les Heures de Marguerite d′Orléans
Libro d'ore di Margherita d'Orleans
Stundenbuch der Margarete von Orléans
Size / Format
420 pages / 20.7 × 15.0 cm
Origin
France
Date
Ca. 1426–1430 and ca. 1450
Style
Language
Script
Gothic Textura
Illustrations
41 full-page miniatures, 24 calendar medallions framed in gold, and 42 ornate floral borders with filigree tendrils
Content
Liturgy of the Hours
Patron
Richard d'Étampes, Duke of Brittany (ca. 1396-1438)
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Marguerite d’Orléans (1406–66)
Jean-Baptiste Châtre de Cangé (ca. 1680-1746)

Available facsimile editions:
Book of Hours of Marguerite d’Orléans – Quaternio Verlag Luzern – Ms. latin 1156B – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Quaternio Verlag Luzern – Lucerne, 2013
Limited Edition: 680 copies
Detail Picture

Book of Hours of Marguerite d’Orléans

The Grape Harvest

One of the finest features of this manuscript is its extraordinary marginalia, which in this case shows diminutive farmers harvesting oversized bunches of grapes, which they collect in baskets and then pour into wide barrels for crushing. Huge songbirds and snails can be seen among the leaves, some of which are changing colors with the season. The artist has presented this on the same page as an Annunciation scene to metaphorically imply that the harvest of Salvation is also nigh.

Stundenbuch der Margarete von Orléans
Single Page

Book of Hours of Marguerite d’Orléans

Flight into Egypt and Massacre of the Innocents

Here we have a fairly archetypal late-medieval portrayal of the Holy Family’s escape from the soldiers of King Herod, who are massacring all children in the area in the hope of killing the newborn Messiah. The event spurring their flight is depicted in the bas-de-page miniature, wherein a soldier is about to strike a child with a sword.

In the primary miniature, Joseph leads a donkey carrying the Madonna with Child in front of a distant landscape. Joseph looks warily over his shoulder for danger, while Mary hangs her head in sorrow for those who became the first Christian martyrs. The frame includes gilded tendrils, birds, a patterned initial of red, blue, and gold, two drolleries holding the patron’s standards, and some kind of amphibian.

Stundenbuch der Margarete von Orléans
Facsimile Editions

#1 Stundenbuch der Margarete von Orléans

Quaternio Verlag Luzern – Lucerne, 2013

Publisher: Quaternio Verlag Luzern – Lucerne, 2013
Limited Edition: 680 copies
Binding: Copy of the eighteenth-century binding added by the book binder of Louis XV. Red Moroccan leather, small sections colored brown or olive with mosaic patterns in gold embossing on the front and back covers as well as the spine and edges.
Commentary: 1 volume by Eberhard König and Christine Seidel
Languages: English, 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: €€€ (3,000€ - 7,000€)
Edition available
Price: Log in here!
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