Book of Hours (Use of Lisieux, for female patron)

French (Loire Valley)
Medieval (Gothic)
mid-15th century

Place of Manufacture: France, Loire Valley


Overall (page dimensions): 17.8 x 13.3 cm (7 x 5 1/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Tempera and ink with gold leaf on parchment; bindings of calfskin over pasteboards with marbleized pastedowns and endpapers, gilded spine

Not On View





Book of Hours with 136 folios (ff.) and 3 leaves.

ff. 1 - 12v: Calendar
ff. 13 - 26: Hours of the Virgin (Use of Lisieux)
(ff. 13 - 24v: Matins)
(ff. 25 - 36: Lauds)
ff. 37 - 38v: Hours of the Cross (intercalated and abbreviated)
f. 39 - 39v: Hours of the Holy Spirit (intercalated and abbreviated, imperfect - lacking one leaf after f. 39)
ff. 40 - 65v: Hours of the Virgin, continued
(ff. 40 - 45: Prime (begins imperfectly, lacking one leaf before f. 40))
(ff. 45v - 49v: Terce)
(ff. 50 - 53v: Sext)
(ff. 54 - 57v: Nones)
(ff. 58 - 59v: Vespers (begins imperfectly, lacking one leaf before f. 58))
(ff. 60 - 65: Compline)
(f. 65v: [blank])
ff. 66 - 80: Penitential Psalms
ff. 80 - 86v: Litany and prayers
ff. 87 - 89v: Obsecro te (ends imperfectly, lacking one folio after f. 89) (female use)
ff. 90 - 136: Office of the Dead (Use of Lisieux)
f. 136v: [blank]

1 column of 13 text lines in Latin. Bounding lines in red plummet, full-length to top and bottom edges, writing lines in red plummet, top line full-length and doubled, prickings preserved in outer margin for writing lines, in lower margin for bounding lines.

Lacking two folios after f. 39 (the central bifolium, including the Prime miniature), one folio before f. 58 (the Vespers miniature), and one folio before f. 90 (the Office of the Dead miniature). Some catchwords extant in lower margin of last verso of quire.

Written in a Gothic bookhand in brown ink with red rubrics. Two-line initials throughout in gold leaf with colors, one-line in-text initials in gold leaf with colors, line fillers in salmon and blue with gold leaf and white highlighting, in-text initials lacking in calendar, KLs in gold leaf on blue and salmon background with white highlights.

Nine (of twelve) ¾-page miniatures, each in a thin arched, gold frame with full border of thin black vines with gold berries and flowers in colors, with acanthus sprays in corners in gold and colors. The miniatures are characterized in part by a deep rust color in the palette that is used especially for backdrop walls in interiors, and then decorated with a lighter rust filigree. In exterior scenes, the background consists of two overlapping hills and a central plain, in varying shades of green. The gold frame encloses the three lines of text on each miniature page, including a three-line initial in blue with white filigree highlights on a gold background with floral infill.

Written in the Loire Valley in the mid-fifteenth century, for the use of a woman in Lisieux, in Normandy. The Hours of the Virgin and the Office of the Dead are Lisieux Use, and the calendar includes Lisieux and Loire region saints such as Guillaume (12 Jan.), Ursinus (29 Dec.) and his translation (11 June). The litany includes similarly localizable saints such as Taurinus, Avia, Leobines, and an unidentified “St. Ausberta.” The “Obsecro te” uses the feminine forms “famula tua,” indicating that the manuscript was made for a female patron.


Faded fifteenth-century notes or inscription on f. 136v, possibly in French. Nineteenth-century descriptive notes in French on f.1 verso.


Paper front flyleaf with watermark "C. Baudrouet/ C. Dalancon".


By 1841, Adolphe Audenet (1800-1872), [see note 1]; March 11 - April 3, 1841, sold by Adolphe Audenet at Hotel Drouot, Paris, no. 21 [see note 2]. By 1921, with Joseph H. Clark; 1921, gift of Joseph H. Clark. (Accession date: June 6, 1912)

[1] See bookplate on f. i verso. [2] Hotel Drouot, "Catalogue d'une collection de très beaux livres tant anciens que modernes" (Paris, March 11 - April 3, 1841), p. 4, no. 21.

Credit Line

Gift of Joseph H. Clark