Torriani Book of Hours

Torriani Book of Hours Facsimile Edition

Milan (Italy) — 1490–1495

For the Italian ancestors of the princes of Thurn and Taxis: a book treasure in a small format with a fascinating decorative cover

  1. A fascinating jewel of illumination by the Italian ancestors of the Thurn und Taxis family with an impressively crafted cover

  2. Matteo da Milano and Giovanni Ambrogio de Preci's workshop painted in the smallest spaces

  3. The gilded silver binding is set with precious noble stones and small enamel reliefs

Torriani Book of Hours

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  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (1)
Torriani Book of Hours

The Torriani Book of Hours is a small codex that was made in Italy between 1490 and 1495. The artist studio of the famous master Giovanni Ambrogio de Predisis responsible for the design of the splendid work. The manuscript in the small format of 8 x 6 cm impresses with astonishingly beautiful, vividly-colored miniatures as well as a gilded and elaborately-wrought silver binding.

Torriani Book of Hours

In the Château de Chantilly Library there is a small codex that, despite its small size of 8 x 6 cm, represents one of the museum’s greatest treasures. The Torriani Book of Hours is a small jewel of a book that captivates through its rich pictorial decoration and its impressively wrought binding. The prayer book contains six splendid, full-page miniatures and an additional 24 pages with elaborate decoration. Especially worthy of note is the binding of the original work, which remains intact to this day. This is only the case with a few codices from the 15th century.

Renowned Book Artists

The small booklet, which was commissioned by a member of the Renaissance Torriani family for private devotion, was probably designed in Milan. The book adornment of the work can be ascribed to the work of the artist studio of Giovanni Ambrogio de Predis. The renowned painter’s shop revolving around the famous master was markedly influenced by the Lombard art of the 15th century. Especially the painting of Leonardo da Vinci, with whom de Predis worked on the design of the “Virgin of the Rocks,” exerted great influence on the illuminators. The artist Matteo de Milano was responsible for the naturalistic borders of the book pages. He furnished the borders of the book with depictions of blooming flower motifs, small animals, as well as precious jewels and noble stones. Matteo was one of the most popular Milanese miniaturists and was employed by some of the most famous houses of the Italian Renaissance.

Fascinating Book Adornment

The pictorial cycle of the high-quality illuminated manuscript consists of 30 gorgeously colored miniatures in various sizes. 12 pages of the work are dedicated to an exceptionally designed calendar. 18 additional miniatures illustrate the Office of the Virgin, which is concerned with a Liturgy of the Hours for the glories of the Mother of God. Six complete images of the Office of the Virgin show dramatic scenes from the life and sufferings of Jesus Christ. The images enchant through their charming color scheme and their accompanying dramatic composition. In addition to the full-sized pictures, the book of hours is adorned with 12 large, historicized initials, which show architectural elements of fantastical buildings and are decorated with flowering tendrils, small angelic figures, and beasts. The magnificent impression of the small gem was completed through the gilded and elaborately-wrought silver binding. The gleaming book cover is set with precious noble stones and contains small enameled reliefs of biblical motifs. The Torriani Book of Hours represents a perfect example of Renaissance Milanese book art in every regard.


Alternative Titles
Libro d'Ore Torriani
Size / Format
288 pages / 8.2 × 6.5 cm
Gothic Textura
6 full-page illustrations and 24 pages with rich embellishments and illustrations
Member of the Torriani family
Artist / School

Available facsimile editions:
Torriani Book of Hours – Ms. 83 – Bibliothèque du Château (Chantilly, France) Facsimile Edition
Franco Cosimo Panini Editore – Modena, 2009
Limited Edition: 980 copies
Detail Picture

Torriani Book of Hours

May: Washing Clothes

The frame for this calendar page shows a group of commoners taking advantage of May’s warm weather and washing their clothes in a stream. Cows highlighted with strokes of gold ink feed on the grass, which is a radiant shade of green appropriate for spring. Approaching through the woods to the left, a page can be seen carefully leading two nobles on horseback with his sword raised over his head. A rainbow can be seen in the sky on the left, a sunset on the right.

Libro d'Ore Torriani
Single Page

Torriani Book of Hours

Incipit Officium Beate Marie

This densely illuminated page prefaces the Office of the Virgin Mary and includes a splendid golden historiated initial with an Annunciation scene. The text is written in gold ink and is surrounded by a colorful maze of tendrils filled with birds, flowers, vases, and cherubs tending a deer and playing instruments. A magnificent tower completes the fourth side of the page.

Mary is depicted at prayer in an open, classically-styled vestibule that is possibly meant to be in the tower to the left because another smaller tower also appears on the right of the initial. Dressed in her iconic blue cloak, she turns to look at the archangel Gabriel who is kneeling behind her with wings unfolded as though he just flew down from heaven.

Libro d'Ore Torriani
Facsimile Editions

#1 Libro d'Ore Torriani

Torriani Book of Hours – Ms. 83 – Bibliothèque du Château (Chantilly, France) Facsimile Edition
Torriani Book of Hours – Ms. 83 – Bibliothèque du Château (Chantilly, France) Facsimile Edition Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Publisher: Franco Cosimo Panini Editore – Modena, 2009
Limited Edition: 980 copies
Binding: Bound by hand (gilded silver binding covers and spine)
Commentary: 1 volume (ca. 180 pages) by Pier Luigi Mulas, Marco Collareta, Jean-Baptiste Lebigue and Monica Visioli
Language: Italian
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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