Early books of scripture or theology were written by hand by monastic scribes. The most elegant - and expensive - of these manuscripts were illuminated: lit up by pictures and other embellishments in bright pigments and gold leaf. In the thirteenth century, universities joined monasteries and abbeys in creating demand for books, and production of illuminated manuscripts spread from the monastery to professional workshops.
By the fourteenth centuries, clergy, landowners, and merchants alike might own a Book of Hours, a collection of Christian prayers and devotions for different hours of the day. These Books of Hours, the most common of medieval manuscripts, were intended for use at home and were often commissioned by wealthy families and personalized with their names and histories. Many of the images reproduced here are found in such books; all are in the collection of the British Library.
Twelve monthly grids and full-color artwork.
12 x 13 inches, opens to 12 x 26 inches.