Lifelike figures and realistic perspective: a magnificent book of hours from Bruges with artistic influences from England, Burgundy, and Austria

Madrid Hours of William Lord of Hastings

Ghent (Belgium) — 1479

Madrid Hours of William Lord of Hastings

Madrid Hours of William Lord of Hastings

Ghent (Belgium) — 1479

  1. William Hastings, 1st Baron of Hastings (ca. 1431-1483) served the House of York during the Wars of the Roses

  2. His personal book of hours is a masterpiece of Flemish illumination with clear English influences

  3. Its 34 full-page miniatures have intricately patterned backgrounds, lifelike figures, and a realistic perspective

Madrid Hours of William Lord of Hastings

Alternative Titles:
  • Madridstundenuch des William Lord von Hastings
Madrid Hours of William Lord of Hastings  – inv. 15503 – Museo de la Fundación Lázaro Galdiano (Madrid, Spain)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

William Hastings, 1st Baron of Hastings (ca. 1431-1483) was Lord Chamberlain to King Edward IV (1442-83). This excellent Flemish manuscript was made at the behest of the powerful English nobleman, and is a wonderful specimen of late medieval illumination. A variety of contemporary influences from across Europe are present in the décor of the codex. The codex is especially famous for a haunting miniature that depicts a death vigil, in which the artist made full use of his creative talents.

Madrid Hours of William Lord of Hastings

William Hastings, 1st Baron of Hastings (ca. 1431-1483) was an English nobleman in the service of the House of York during the Wars of the Roses. He rose to become an important courtier of King Edward IV (1442-83), serving as Lord Chamberlain to the King, with whom he was also close friends. Richard III (1452-85), Edward’s brother and successor, executed Lord Hastings on suspicion of treason at the Tower of London. Ironically, his stunning Flemish book of hours contains two scenes referring to death: the resurrection of Lazarus, a common scene, and another whereby the miniaturist was able to express his full artistic genius. The calendar at the beginning of the text features the personal saints of both Edward IV and Richard III, although the latter was insufficient to save Lord Hastings from suspicion of treason. Today, this fine manuscript is stored in Madrid’s Museo de la Fundación Lázaro Galdiano under the shelf mark inv. 15503. It is housed in a 17th century binding of rose-colored velvet adorned with 4 metal corner pieces with cherubs and grotesque masks.

A Striking Death Scene

The somber interior scene precedes the Commendationes animarum and depicts a pale, skeletal figure in bed surrounded by mourners without any perceptible sign of salvation. Although originating from Bruges in the late 15th century, the influence of English illumination from Sarum or Salisbury is clear in the manuscript’s 34 full-page miniatures. Hasting’s coat-of-arms is also pictured on a full-page. At the same time, parts of the manuscript resemble works from the Vienna Master of Mary of Burgundy and the Master of Vienna, especially in the miniature with the vigil of death mentioned above. Intricate patterns are featured throughout the Madrid Hours of William Lord of Hastings, something which began to appear in miniatures in the 1470’s. From the figures to the perspective of the space, it is a masterpiece of Flemish illumination.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Madridstundenuch des William Lord von Hastings
Date
1479

1 available facsimile edition(s) of „Madrid Hours of William Lord of Hastings “

Libro de Horas de Hastings
Madrid Hours of William Lord of Hastings  – inv. 15503 – Museo de la Fundación Lázaro Galdiano (Madrid, Spain)
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Libro de Horas de Hastings

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Millennium Liber – Madrid, 2019
Limited Edition
495 copies
Binding
17th century rose velvet binding; 4 metal corner pieces incised with putti and grotesque masks
Commentary
1 volume by Elisa Ruiz García
Language: Spanish
Price Category: €€€
Edition available
Price: Login here!
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