Spring 2012

Document Type

Restricted Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Art History


Illuminated manuscripts are some of the most significant cultural artifacts from the late Middle Ages and Renaissance. Between the mid-thirteenth and mid-sixteenth centuries, more books of hours were produced than any other type of book, including the Bible.1 Derived from official service books of the Church, books of hours from this time were personal prayer books under no control by the clergy; therefore, aspects of the content, decoration, and elaboration depended much on the patron.2 Although variations occurred, the general concepts and content of these books remained the same. By the late fourteenth century, the typical book of hours consisted of a Calendar, Gospel Lessons, Hours of the Virgin, Hours of the Cross, Hours of the Holy Spirit, the two prayers to the Virgin called the “Obsecro te” and the “O intermerata,” the Penitential Psalms and Litany, the Office of the Dead, and a group of about a dozen Suffrages.3 The Pierpont Morgan Library owns more than 370 hand-produced and printed books of hours, including the highly revered Dutch illuminated manuscripts, the Hours of Catherine of Cleves (Morgan Library, NY).


Note: Access to this thesis is restricted to Skidmore community.