Book of Hours (Use of Rome)

Italian (Siena)
Medieval (Late Gothic)/early Renaissance
about 1450–75
Attributed to Liberale da Verona

Object Place: Siena, Tuscany, Italy


Overall (page dimensions): 13.4 x 11.2 cm (5 1/4 x 4 7/16 in.) Other (writing space): 6.3 x 4.5 cm (2 1/2 x 1 3/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Tempera, ink and gold on parchment; bindings of calfskin over bevelled boards, with gilding

Not On View





A Book of Hours with 291 folios and 7 leaves:

ff. 1 - 12v: Calendar
f. 13: [blank]
ff. 14 - 132: Hours of the Virgin
(ff. 14 - 31v: Matins)
(ff. 31v - 51: Lauds (rubric added later))
(f. 51v: [blank])
(ff. 52 - 59: Prime)
(f. 59v: [blank])
(ff. 60 - 67: Terce)
(f. 67v: [blank])
(ff. 68 - 74v: Sext)
(f. 75 r/v: [blank])
(ff. 76 - 83: None)
(f. 83v: [blank])
(ff. 84 - 96: Vespers)
(f. 97 r/v: [blank])
(ff. 98 - 105: Compline)
ff. 105v - 132: Seasonal instructions
ff. 133 - 174: Hours of the Passion
f. 174v: [blank]
ff. 175 - 186v: “Hours of the Passion” (i.e. Hours of the Cross)
f. 187 r/v: [blank]
ff. 188 - 258: Office of the Dead (Use of Rome)
f. 258v: [blank]
ff. 259 - 291v: Penitential Psalms, Litany and Prayers

1 column of 12 text lines in Latin. Bounding lines plummet or dry-point, full-length to top and bottom, writing lines plummet or dry-point.

Catchwords in lower center margin, last verso of each quire. Nineteenth-century arabic foliation in black ink.

Written in a Italian Gothic script in black ink, red rubrics, some in Italian. Five historiated initials: f. 14 (Matins, Hours of the Virgin): 8-line initial D historiated with the Annunciation - Gabriel and Mary seated, Mary with prayerbook, Gabriel presents lilies, within a botanical [D] in dark salmon, red, blue, and green, within gold frame, full border of scrolling acanthus, gold berries, birds, animals, and grotesques; f. 134: Hours of the Passion - Christ emerging from the tomb, almost certainly by Liberale de Verona, in foliate [D] in colors, full border as f. 14; f. 175: Hours of the Cross - Christ emerging from the tomb, possibly the same artist as f. 14, same border; f. 188: Office of the Dead - corpse lying on bed, same artist as f. 14, same border; f. 259: Penitential Psalms - David with lyre, same artist and border as f. 14. Eighteen 4-line foliate initials in colors in gold frame (beginning all hours except Matins throughout). 2- to 3-line initials throughout in red with purple filigree or blue with red filigree.

The calendar includes several saints of Sienese import, including St. Bernarrdinus of Siena (20 May), St. Cerbonius (10 October ), St. Ansanus (Dec. 1) and the Dedication of San Salvatore (9 November, possibly the Abbey of San Salvator in Siena). St. Nicolai de Tolentino (September 10, also found in the litany) was canonized in 1446, a reliable terminus post quem for the production of the manuscript. Although ths calendar does not include Catherine of Siena (can. 1461), it may post-date her canonization.


Aimée Lamb (b. 1893 - d. 1989) and Rosamond Lamb (b. 1898 - d. 1989), Boston; 1979, gift of Aimee and Rosamond Lamb to the MFA. (Accession Date: October 17, 1979)

Credit Line

Gift of Miss Aimée and Miss Rosamond Lamb