Hours of Joan the Mad - Joanna I of Castile

Hours of Joan the Mad - Joanna I of Castile Facsimile Edition

Bruges (Belgium) — Around 1500

Her solace in captivity: The Book of Hours of Queen Joanna of Castile with breathtaking miniatures by Gerard Horenbout

  1. Before her imprisonment, Joanna of Castile (1479–1555), nicknamed "the Mad", was the titular Queen of the Kingdoms of Castile, Leon and Aragon

  2. This great work of art in a handy format comforted her during her politically motivated detention

  3. None other than the famous Gerard Horenbout (ca. 1465 – ca. 1541) was responsible for this art treasure

Hours of Joan the Mad - Joanna I of Castile

  1. Description
  2. Facsimile Editions (1)
Hours of Joan the Mad - Joanna I of Castile

The Hours of Joanna I of Castile was produced by the Belgian illuminator Gérard Horenbout ca. 1500. It is one of the most beautiful works by the famous artist and contains 75 full-page, painting-like miniatures. The manuscript was probably commissioned by the Spanish Queen Johanna I and is found today in the British Library in London.

Hours of Joan the Mad - Joanna I of Castile

Joanna I of Castile, who bore the epithet “the mad”, was the regent of Aragon from 1504 to 1555. To this day, researchers debate whether Joanna’s madness was merely a matter of intrigue in power-politics by members of her ruling house. What is certain is that the queen was a highly educated person, who delighted in scholarship and art throughout her life. She owned one of the most artistically valuable illuminated manuscripts of her time. Her book of hours was the highpoint of her book collection. It was made by the famous Belgian illuminator Gérard Horenbout. The master furnished almost every page of his work with images. It is comprised of 75 full-page miniatures of breathtaking quality.

Book Art from Belgium

Belgium was a true stronghold of manuscript book art in the Middle Ages. Nowhere else was there such a density of talented masters. Illustrated books of hours from Belgium were coveted across Europe and served as templates for masters from other regions. Books of hours were probably the most popular genre of the Late Middle Ages. They were produced for noblemen for private devotion and prayer. Renowned miniature painters such as Simon Bening and Gérard Horenbout created a completely new kind of book painting with their illuminated codices. Their works amaze the beholder to this very day. The Hours of Joanna I of Castile is counted among Horenbout’s most famous masterpieces.

Artistic Refinement

The Belgian book of hours distinguishes itself through its unbelievably realistic and qualitatively sophisticated pictorial scenes. The miniatures seem almost three-dimensional through their exciting variety of colors and perspective method of representation. Horenbout lent his figures lifelike and emotional facial features. Especially worthy of note are the 14 pictures of the Passion cycle, the gifted master’s depiction of which gives proof of his unmitigated talent. The valuable original edition of the splendid book of hours is found today in the British National Library in London.


Alternative Titles
Hours of Joanna I of Castile
London Rothschild Prayerbook
Libro de Horas de Juana I de Castilla
Stundenbuch der Johanna I. von Kastilien, die Wahnsinnige
Libro d’Ore di Giovanna I di Castiglia, Giovanna la Pazza
Les Heures de Jeanne Ire de Castille, Jeanne la Folle
Livro de Horas de Joana I de Castela, Joana a Louca
Size / Format
482 pages / 23.7 × 16.3 cm
Around 1500
482 illustrated pages with 75 full-page illuminations
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Joan the Mad (1479–1555)

Available facsimile editions:
Hours of Joan the Mad - Joanna I of Castile – Add. Ms. 35313 – British Library (London, United Kingdom) Facsimile Edition
M. Moleiro Editor – Barcelona, 2005
Limited Edition: 987 copies
Facsimile Editions

#1 Libro de Horas de Juana I de Castilla

M. Moleiro Editor – Barcelona, 2005

Publisher: M. Moleiro Editor – Barcelona, 2005
Limited Edition: 987 copies
Binding: Brown leather embossed with gold. In leather case.
Commentary: 1 volume (432 pages) by Carlos Miranda García-Tejedor and Manuel Moleiro
Language: Spanish
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.
Regular price without login (like new)5,490 
Log in for a Better Price!
You might also be interested in:
Book of Hours of the Bishop Fonseca Facsimile Edition
Book of Hours of the Bishop Fonseca
Bruges or Ghent (Belgium) – Ca. 1500

Medieval life, hunting, and harvesting: a manuscript adorned with charming scenes created by unknown Flemish masters

Experience More
Visconti Book of Hours Facsimile Edition
Visconti Book of Hours
Probably Milan (Italy) – Around 1390, completed after 1428

Created by the painting geniuses Giovannino de' Grassi and Belbello da Pavia: a picturesque, luminous prayer book in two volumes for the powerful Duke of Milan

Experience More
Blog articles worth reading
Filter selection