Book of Hours (Use of Rome)

about 1433–66


Overall (page dimensions): 9.9 x 6.9 cm (3 7/8 x 2 11/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Tempera, ink, and pencil (modern) with gold on parchment; bindings of leather over boards

Not On View




Books and manuscripts , Manuscripts

A Book of Hours comprising 3 leaves and 197 folios (ff.):

ff. 1 - 6v: Calendar (lacking January-Feb. 15, April 16-June 15, and November 16-December 31)
ff. 2 - 29v: Hours of the Passion link
ff. 30 - 36v: Hours of the Cross
ff. 37 - 38v: link
ff. 39 - 45v: Mass of the Virgin
ff. 46 - 51v: Gospel readings
ff. 52 - 128v: Hours of the Virgin
(ff. 52 - 63v: Matins link)
(ff. 64 - 75v: Lauds link)
(ff. 76 - 82v: Prime)
(ff. 83 - 88v: Terce)
(ff. 89 - 91v: Sext link)
(ff. 92 - 95v: None link)
(ff. 96 - 105v: Vespers)
(ff. 106 - 111linkv: Compline)
(ff. 112 - 128: Seasonal instructions)
ff. 129 - 149v: Penitential psalms and litany
ff. 150 - 194: Office of the Dead (Use of Rome) link

1 column of 15 text lines, in Latin. Bounding lines in light red plummet, full-length to all edges, writing lines in light red plummet.

Lacking at least three leaves at the front, three leaves after folio 2, two leaves after folio 6, three leaves before folio 7 in the next quire, one leaf (a miniature) before f. 52, two leaves (including a miniature) before f. 64, three leaves (including a miniature) after f. 91, one folio (a miniature) before f. 92 in the next quire, two leaves (including a miniature) before f. 129, and at least two leaves at the back, all remaining miniatures are singletons, with other singletons used to complete texts at the end of a quire. Catchwords mostly trimmed, partially visible in lower right corner of last verso of several quires (e.g. f. 99v, 135v) in light brown Gothic cursive. Foliation in modern pencil in upper right corner of rectos, skips several numbers so reaches 194 instead of 197 (but those numbers used above for reference).

Written in a rounded Gothic bookhand by a single scribe in black ink with red rubrics. KLs and two-line initials throughout in gold filled with salmon and surrounded by blue (or vice versa) with white highlights, vines and gold leaves with flowers in colors into margin. In-text initials alternate blue with red filigree or gold with blue. Eleven 8-line initials in blue on salmon background with white highlights in a gold frame with gold background infill with salmon vines and orange/blue flowers, gold bar in inner margin and across lower, 3/4 borders of black vines and gold leaves with green leaves and flowers at the beginning of each Hour of the Passion and of the Virgin. Similar on ff. 31, 39, and 150, but with full border and full frame (at the opening of the Hours of the Cross, the Mass of the Virgin, and the Office of the Dead).

Six full-page miniatures (Passion Cycle, for the Hours of the Virgin), each in an arched double fillet gold frame, full border of leafy sprays with acanthus in corners, gold leaves and flowers and fruit in colors. Background buildings in exterior scenes are consistently white with red roofs, and haloes are red stripes over gold leaf. Several outdoor scenes are characterized by a wavy white line in the grass, perhaps a brook.

Binding: 19th-century diced Russian brown leather over boards, blind- and roll-stamped, fleur-de-lis device in corners, triple-fillet border around waved roll-tool. Spine in compartments with fleur-de-lis in center, edges dyed red, damaged at head and tail, paper pastedowns and flyleaves (reddened), corners bumped.


A 16th-century signature on f. 63v, "Giordano,"


Mid-15th century, produced in Flanders, probably Bruges, possibly for export to Italy [see note 1]. Possibly, in the 16th century, in Italy [see note 2]. By 1895, Mrs. Charles C. Perkins (Frances D. Bruen) (d. 1909) [see note 3]; 1909, by inheritance to her son, Charles B. Perkins [see note 4]; 1922, sold by Charles B. Perkins to the MFA for $1500 [see note 5]. (Accession date: March 2, 1922) NOTES: [1] The hand is slightly Italianate, and the book may have been produced for export - the use is of Rome. [2] A sixteenth-century signature on f. 63v, "Giordano," may indicate a later Italian provenance. [3] On loan to the MFA from Mrs. Charles C. Perkins from November 27, 1895 until her death in 1909. [4] Relent to the MFA by Charles B. Perkins from March 23, 1921. [5] MFA accession numbers 22.375-22.379 were purchased together for $1500.

Credit Line

Frank S. Adams Fund