Leaf from a Book of Hours

Accession Number

Leaf from a Book of Hours


Artist Nationality
French (culture or style)

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
ink, tempera and gold on parchment

7 3/16 in. x 5 in. ( 18.2 cm x 12.7 cm )

Credit Line
Anonymous Gift in memory of Mrs. John Alexander

Label copy
The book of hours was a private devotional book for use by lay people, containing prayers to be recited at particular times of the day. While miniatures signaled the important divisions in a book of hours, most pages looked similar to this one, with text and initials, typically executed in red, blue, and white, and the borders of text pages often decorated. The main text of the book is the Little Office of the Virgin Mary, or the Hours of the Virgin. The book of hours evolved at the same time as the Cult of the Virgin and popular devotion to Mary in the 12th and 13th centuries. By the 14th century, it was the main text for private devotion, and by the 15th century it was esteemed as a precious object and status symbol.
Gallery label text by Annette Dixon, Curator

Subject matter
This illuminated manuscript page was taken from a book of hours, a type of personal devotional book that enjoyed widespread popularity from the thirteenth through fifteenth centuries and contained sets of daily prayers, or "offices." The text here comes from the Little Office of the Virgin Mary, who was a central figure in Christian devotion during this period.

Physical Description
This manuscript page contains a column of Latin text surrounded by generous margins. A pair of slender flowers with small green leaves run the length of the text along the left margin. Three decorated initials appear on the left edge of the text block. Each initial is painted gold on a pink and blue ground with white scrollwork and enclosed within a frame. Two rectangular line-fillers, colored pink and blue with white scrollwork, appear in the right half of the text column.

Primary Object Classification

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.

floral patterns
illuminated manuscripts
illuminations (visual works)
manuscripts (document genre)
prayer books

5 Related Resources

Before 1492
(Part of 3 Learning Collections)
Devotional Objects Across Religions
(Part of 4 Learning Collections)
Early Modern European Objects
(Part of 2 Learning Collections)
Introduction to Manuscripts and Early Print
(Part of 2 Learning Collections)
Religious Life in Medieval and Early Modern Europe
(Part of 2 Learning Collections)

& Author Notes

Web Use Permitted