Illuminated Manuscript: Book of Hours
Book of Hours
A Book of Hours contains prayers, readings and psalms. The word "hours" refers to 'The Hours of the Virgin'. These prayers were to be recited (or sung) daily at eight set 'hours' in the day to Mary, the Mother of God, as an intercessor between man and God.
The origin of a "Book of Hours" is the Psalter, the Book of Psalms.
The word "hour" refers to canonical hours or the Breviary, prayers that were prayed or sung at intervals of three hours each day beginning at 6 a.m. with "Prim", at 9 a.m."Terz", then, at noon, "Sext" , then at 3. p.m. "Non", then at 6 p.m. "Vesper" and finally at 9 p.m. "Complet". Originally there were also prayers at midnight "Matutin" and at 3 a.m. "Laudes". Those two night prayers were later prayed together at 3 a.m.
Here are pages of such a "Book of Hours", done on parchment In the tradition of Northern France and Flanders. This Book of Hours was written ca. 1500. Every page is a unique page.
The manuscript is in brown and red ink. The initial letter of each psalm verse is illuminated with color and real gold. On each of these pages there are several illuminated initials. In order to to identify them we name the pages after the adorned large Initial. In all Books of Hours there are common and habitual abbreviations used,so that not every Latin word is spelled out completely.