96 Items in this Learning Collection
Collection Object
Collection Object
Collection Object
Collection Object
Collection Object
Collection Object
Collection Object
Collection Object
Collection Object
Collection Object
Collection Object
Collection Object
Collection Object
Collection Object
Collection Object
Collection Object
Collection Object

All Rights Reserved ()

Priest Celebrating a Mass (Leaf from the Tarleton Hours)

Accession Number

Priest Celebrating a Mass (Leaf from the Tarleton Hours)


Artist Nationality
French (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
circa 1430

Medium & Support
ink, tempera and gold on thin parchment

5 1/2 in x 4 3/16 in (13.97 cm x 10.64 cm);5 1/2 in x 4 3/16 in (13.97 cm x 10.64 cm)

Credit Line
Museum Purchase

Label copy
The book of hours from which this leaf came takes its name from the family who owned it from 1784 until 1951. The miniature, instead of the usual illustration for the Hour of Sext (the Adoration of the Magi), depicts a priest celebrating a Mass in a private chapel for a noblewoman, probably the owner of the manuscript. The celebrant is shown elevating the host (Eucharistic bread) before an altar, on which stands an altarpiece depicting Christ in the tomb with an angel. The role of books in religious worship and private devotion is illustrated by the opened codices on the altar and before the kneeling lady.
Gallery Rotation Fall 2010
Unknown Artist
France, 1400–1500
Priest Celebrating a Mass from the Tarleton Hours
circa 1430
Ink, tempera, and gold on parchment
Museum purchase, 1968/2.43
This brilliant page, resplendent with gold and vivid colors, comes from a popular type of medieval prayer book known as a Book of Hours. The opening words of a set of prayers appear below an illumination representing a wealthy woman in elaborate dress kneeling beneath a red canopy set within a church. A book lies open before her, but she looks ahead with hands clasped toward a priest raising a Eucharistic wafer while performing the Mass at an altar. Although her identity is unknown, this woman was undoubtedly the original owner of the book, who perhaps found in the illustration an idealized reflection of her pious practices.

Subject matter
This minature painting is a leaf illustration from the Tarleton Hours, a devotional prayer book created in France, during the early 16th century. A Book of Hours such as this would contain readings, prayers, psalms, as well as church liturgy for private devotion. This scene shows a priest celebrating mass as an attendant and a woman, possibly a donor, kneel near him. It is surrounded by intricate and colorful designs that create rich decorative patterns.

Physical Description
This page of an illuminated manuscript on thin parchment is vertically oriented. Centered in the upper two-thirds of the page is a window-shaped scene of a priest celebrating mass. The priest, with red and white robes and a tonsure, holds up a communion wafer at an altar that has a bible and a communion goblet on it and an image of two figures with halos behind them. The altar and the priest’s robes are trimmed with gold leaf. Behind the priest are two kneeling figures, a man and a woman. They are in the interior of a gothic church, with stone vaulting above them. Below the scene are four lines of calligraphy with the first letter, a ‘D’, highly decorated. Decorative detailing surrounds the text and the scene. The left side consists of an ivy-like plant growing out of the "D", and the bottom and right sides have different foliate-derived design depicted in ink, tempera and gold.

Primary Object Classification
Unbound Work

Primary Object Type

Collection Area

If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.


15 Related Resources

Before 1492
(Part of 3 Learning Collections)
Christian Churches
(Part of 2 Learning Collections)
Devotional Objects Across Religions
(Part of 4 Learning Collections)
Early Modern European Objects
(Part of 2 Learning Collections)
Grief and Mourning Rituals
(Part of 5 Learning Collections)
Introduction to Manuscripts and Early Print
(Part of 2 Learning Collections)
Religious Buildings
(Part of 2 Learning Collections)
Religious Life in Medieval and Early Modern Europe
(Part of 2 Learning Collections)
Miniature Paintings Across Cultures 
(Part of: Visual Cultures of Islam )
F18 Murray - SAC 354 - New Media History
(Part of: Examples of Past Course Collections)
Acting on Art - forms of physical interaction with art objects
(Part of: F20 Gear - HISTART 194 - Acting on Art in Renaissance Italy)

& Author Notes

Web Use Permitted

On display

UMMA Gallery Location ➜ AMH, 1st floor ➜ 102 (Richard and Rosann Noel Gallery)