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Book of Hours: MS 143

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Current Location: In storage


Book of Hours


Artist: Lathem, Lieven van




PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Parchment, ii paper flyleaves + i contemporary parchment flyleaf + 301 fols. + ii paper flyleaves, 104 x 70 (52 x 37) mm, 11 long lines, ruled in red or violet ink, quire and leaf signatures

BINDING: 18th century, red velvet over wooden boards, sewn on five supports, edges gilt.

fols. 1r – 12v Calendar
fols. 14r – 17r Stabat mater
fols. 18r – 20r Gospel Sequence of St John
fols. 21r – 21v Collect for Epiphany, Deus qui unigenitum tuum gentibus stella duce revelasti
fols. 23r – 30v Hours of the Trinity
fols. 31r – 34v Vigils of the Dead
fols. 36r – 39r Hours of the Holy Spirit
fols. 41r – 44r Hours of All Saints
fols. 46r – 53v Hours of the Sacrament
fols. 55r – 66r Hours of the Cross
fols. 68r – 138v Hours of the Virgin
fols. 140r – 141r Prayer O pia domina dulcissima
fols. 141v – 143r 72 names of the Virgin
fols. 144r – 147v Prayers to the Virgin in Middle Dutch (end imperfectly)
fols. 148r – 150v Letter sent by Leo the Great to Charlemagne, Crux Christi sit mecum, and Christocentric prayers
fols. 151r – 155r Eight Verses of St Bernard and prayers to Christ
fols. 156r – 183v Penitential Psalms and Litany
fols. 185r – 191v Obsecro te
fols. 192r – 196r O intemerata
fols. 197r – 248r Suffrages
fols. 251r – 301r Office of the Dead

DECORATION: 9 full-page miniatures with arched frames, full acanthus and floral borders on plain parchment grounds including animals, birds, grotesques, and motifs often related to the main subject-matter, at major text divisions:
fol. 13v Stabat Mater, Pietà with St John; fol. 22v Hours of the Trinity, Virgin and Child in garden, with God and musical angels; fol. 35v Hours of the Holy Spirit, Pentecost; fol. 40v Hours of All Saints, Christ among saints including the Virgin, St Catherine, St John the Baptist, and St George; fol. 45v Hours of the Sacrament, priest holding monstrance with Host and facing man and woman praying at altar; fol. 54v Hours of the Cross, Crucifixion, Virgin supported by St John and St Mary Magdalene, Jews and soldiers; fol. 67v Hours of the Virgin, Matins, Annunciation; fol. 184v Obsecro te, three noble ladies praying before Virgin and Child, wild man holds arms (overpainted) in border; fol. 250v Office of the Dead, Funeral service.

36 large framed miniatures [8 – 9 ll.] with borders identical to those for the full-page miniatures at lesser text divisions:
fol. 21r Collect for Epiphany, Adoration of the Magi; fol. 196v Suffrages, St Anne with Virgin and Child; fol. 200r St Michael defeating the devil; fol. 201r St John the Baptist pointing at lamb, Salome with his head on dish in border; fol. 202r St Peter with book and key, cockerels in border; fol. 203v St Paul with sword; fol. 205r St James the Great with scallop-topped staff sleeping on island, pilgrim in border; fol. 206v St Luke writing, with ox; fol. 208r St Lawrence with book and gridiron; fol. 209v St George defeating the dragon, with princess; fol. 211r Martyrdom of St Sebastian; fol. 213v St Christopher carrying the Christ Child, with hermit; fol. 216r St Adrian holding sword and hammer on anvil, with lion; fol. 218r St Andrew with saltire cross and rosary; fol. 219r St John on Patmos, eagle with inkpot, pelican in her piety in border; fol. 220r St Bartholomew with book and knife; fol. 221r St Philip with staff-cross and St James the Great with scallop-topped staff and book; fol. 222r St Stephen with stones; fol. 223r St Cornelius with staff-cross and black horn; fol. 224r Martyrdom of St Erasmus; fol. 225r St Clement reading and holding staff-cross; fol. 226r St Quirinus in black armour holding shield and banner; fol. 227r Martyrdom of 10,000 martyrs; fol. 228v St Martin dividing cloak with beggar; fol. 229v St Francis receiving stigmata and St Theobald as bishop; fol. 231r St Jerome as Cardinal with lion, lion fighting dragon in border; fol. 232v St Alexis with pilgrim’s hat and staff, St Maurus with staff-cross and book; fol. 234r St Nicholas blessing three boys in tub; fol. 235v St Anthony with two pigs standing in flames, sow wearing glasses and spinning in border; fol. 237r St Hubert praying to stag, stag hunt in border; fol. 238v St Catherine with sword, book, wheel, and Maxentius defeated; fol. 240r St Margaret emerging from dragon, man killing dragon in border; fol. 241v St Barbara with book and sword beside tower; fol. 243r St Mary Magdalene with ointment jar, St Elizabeth holding triple crown and dressing lame boy; fol. 244v St Agnes with lamb, eagle catching lamb in border; fol. 246r St Apollonia with book and tooth in pincers and St Dorothy weaving wreath.

17 historiated initials in blue with white foliate shading on gold grounds (except fol. 156r, grisaille scene within red initial with white foliate shading on gold and blue ground) with full acanthus and floral borders on plain parchment grounds often including motifs related to the main subject-matter, at major and lesser text divisions:
fol. 23r Hours of the Trinity, [D, 5 ll.] Throne of Mercy Trinity; fol. 31r Vigils of the Dead, [D, 5 ll.] Raising of Lazarus; fol. 36r Hours of the Holy Spirit, [D, 5 ll.] Building of Tower of Babylon; fol. 41r Hours of All Saints, [D, 5 ll.] Fallen Angels turning into devils as they tumble down to Hell; fol. 46r Hours of the Sacrament, [D, 5 ll.] Bleeding lamb carried on bier; fol. 55r Hours of the Cross, [D, 5 ll.] Elephant with warriors in castle on his back, pelican in her piety in border; fol. 68r Hours of the Virgin, Matins, [D, 5 ll.] Temptation of Adam and Eve, human-headed serpent in tree; fol. 84r Lauds, [D, 4 ll.] Agony in the Garden; fol. 101v Prime, [D, 4 ll.] Transfiguration; fol. 108v Terce, [D, 4 ll.] Resurrection; fol. 114r Sext, [D, 4 ll.] Noli me tangere; fol. 119r None, [D, 4 ll.] Doubting of Thomas; fol. 124r Vespers, [D, 4 ll.] Supper at Emmaus; fol. 132r Compline, [D, 4 ll.] Coronation of the Virgin; fol. 156r Penitential Psalms, [D, 5 ll.] David penitent, David slaying Goliath in border; fol. 185r Obsecro te, [O, 5 ll.] Virgin and Child clothed in the Sun; fol. 251r Office of the Dead, [D, 5 ll.] souls burning in Hell.

ORNAMENTATION: Blue white-patterned initials [3 ll.] with foliage infill on gold grounds accompanied by three-sided bar borders and full acanthus and foliage borders on plain parchment grounds at major text divisions; gold initials [1 – 2 ll.] on blue and pink white-patterned grounds; blue and pink white-patterned line fillers with gold balls; capitals highlighted in yellow; cadels in upper and lower margins.


History note: Unidentified coat of arms painted over earlier, probably original arms (fol. 184v); Richard, seventh viscount Fitzwilliam of Merrion (1745 – 1816), acquired in 1807; his bequest, 1816.

Place(s) associated

  • Ghent ⪼ Flanders

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1816) by Fitzwilliam, Richard, 7th Viscount


15th Century, third quarter#
Circa 1455 CE - Circa 1460 CE

People, subjects and objects depicted


  • Cambridge Illuminated

Materials used in production


Components of the work

Support composed of parchment
Page Height 104 mm Width 70 mm
Text Height 52 mm Width 37 mm

Techniques used in production


Inscription or legends present

  • Text: [contem]plari dolentem
  • Location: Fol. 15r
  • Type: Secundo folio

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: MS 143
Primary reference Number: 169684
Project ID: 79
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 30 November 2020 Last processed: Thursday 7 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Manuscripts and Printed Books

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Book of Hours" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-07-14 19:18:58

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