Although the book of hours was far and away the most popular form of illuminated private devotional manuscript – or any manuscript for that matter – other kinds of customized prayer books were created. They typically took the form of small codices designed to be carried on one’s person and often contained references to its patron in the form of portraits, coats of arms, or other dynastic symbols such as the Prayer Book of Charles the Bold. However, some of these manuscripts were royal commissions like the Prayer Book of Anne of Brittany and took the form of large, impressively illuminated tomes meant to be displayed.
Regardless of size, both the artistic adornment and the arrangement of texts reflected the personal taste of the manuscript’s patron. Aside from depicting religious scenes, the miniatures of these works often give us intimate portrayals of contemporary daily life, making them important historical sources in addition to being great works of art and religious devotion.