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Book of Hours: MS 268

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Current Location: In storage


Book of Hours


Artist: Master of Fitzwilliam 268




PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Parchment, iii contemporary parchment flyleaves + 171 fols. + i contemporary parchment flyleaf, 147 x 107 (97 x 65) mm, 18 long lines, ruled in brown or pink ink, leaf lost before fols. 72 and 76.

BINDING: late seventeenth- or early-eighteenth century, red morocco over pasteboards.

CONTENTS: fols. 1r – 12v Calendar; fols. 14r – 62r Hours of the Virgin; fols. 64r – 67r Office of the Virgin during Advent; fol. 67v Indulgence of Pope Innocent VIII for recitation of Ave virgo gratiosa (addition); fols. 68r – 71v Hours of the Cross; fols. 72r – 75v Hours of the Holy Spirit; fols. 76r – 79r Mass of the Virgin
fols. 79r – 82v Gospel Sequences; fol. 83r Hymn to the Virgin in time of pestilence and verse against fire (addition); fols. 84r – 98v Penitential Psalms and Litany with nine collects; fols. 100r – 130r Office of the Dead; fol. 130v Oratio matutina (addition); fols. 131r – 133v Obsecro te; fols. 133v – 134v O Maria mater lucis (addition); fols. 134v – 135v Prayer of St Anselm, Domine deus meus si feci (addition); fols. 136r – 137r Prayers at Mass; fols. 137r – 137v Hymn Adoro te devote latens veritas (additon); fols. 139r – 142r Suffrages
fols. 144r – 156r Psalter of St Jerome; fols. 156v – 158r Iuste iudex Iesu Christi Regum Rex et domine (addition); fols. 158v – 159r Rubricated prayer concerning cure for snake and other bites (addition) fol. 159v Hymn Christe que lux et es dies (addition); fols. 161r – 168r Passion according to St John
fols. 169r – 171r Devotions to the Five Wounds.

DECORATION: Twenty-three border miniatures of Zodiac signs and labours of the month in Calendar, with full acanthus and foliate borders on brushed gold grounds: fol. 1r January, Aquarius, man warming by fire while servant brings his food; fol. 2r February, Pisces, pruning trees; fol. 3r March, Aries, breaking soil; fol. 4r April, Taurus, youth with flowers; fol. 5r May, zodiac sign excised, hawking; fol. 6r June, Cancer, mowing; fol. 7r July, Leo, reaping; fol. 8r August, Virgo, threshing; fol. 9r September, Libra, treading grapes; fol. 10r October, Scorpio, sowing; fol. 11r November, Sagittarius, banging trees for pigs; fol. 12r December, Capricorn, slaughtering bull.

Fifteen full-page framed miniatures at main text divisions with full acanthus and floral borders on black, brown, purple or plain grounds containing animals, birds, insects, hybrids, drolleries, and combat scenes: fol. 13v Hours of the Virgin, Matins, Annunciation; fol. 27v Lauds, Visitation; fol. 36v Prime, Adoration of the Child; fol. 40v Terce, Annunciation to the Shepherds; fol. 44v Sext, Adoration of the Magi; fol. 48v None, Circumcision; fol. 52v Vespers, Massacre of the Innocents; fol. 58v Compline, Flight into Egypt with Miracle of the Sower; fol. 63v Office of Virgin during Advent, Coronation of the Virgin; fol. 83v Penitential Psalms, David penitent, God sending forth angel with flaming sword; fol. 99v Office of the Dead, Raising of Lazarus; fol. 138v Suffrages, St Nicholas reviving three boys in tub, lay patron kneeling in prayer, with arms of Aragon surmounted by coronet against window; fol. 140v Martyrdom of St Catherine; fol. 143v Psalter of St Jerome, St Jerome penitent; fol. 160v Passion according to St John, St John writing inspired by angel, with Agony in the Garden, Carrying of the Cross, Crucifixion, and Resurrection scenes in distant landscape.

ORNAMENTATION: Blue or pale violet initials [5 – 6 ll.] with graded, white or gold ink foliate motifs on blue, brown or red grounds, and full borders identical to those for the full-page miniatures on facing versos at main text divisions (border on green ground on fol. 76r); gold initials [1 – 4 ll.] on blue and dark pink white-patterned grounds; gold initials [1 – 3 ll.] on blue or red grounds with white scrollwork for additional, early sixteenth-century texts; blue and dark pink bar line-fillers with gold and white decoration.


History note: Made for an Aragonese patron from the kingdom of Naples (arms on fol. 138v); in Italy by the early sixteenth century (additions in Humanistic minuscule, rubricated instruction in Italian, fol. 159r); in Aragon by 1575 when it was inspected by the inquisitor Pedro del Suelves (inscription on fol. iii recto); Don Antonio Villadiego da Montoya (seventeenth-century ownership inscription on recto of flyleaf at end); purchased from Techener, Paris by Henry Yates Thompson (1838 – 1928), February 1897 (his MS 20); his sale, Sotheby’s, London, 14 May 1902, lot 21; purchased by Pickering and Chatto; purchased by Noel Barwell; presented to the Museum by members of Cambridge University, 1903.

Place(s) associated

  • Bruges

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1903) by members of Cambridge University


15th Century, third quarter#
Production date: circa AD 1475

People, subjects and objects depicted


  • Cambridge Illuminated

Materials used in production


Components of the work

Support composed of parchment
Page Height 147 mm Width 107 mm
Text Height 97 mm Width 65 mm

Techniques used in production


Inscription or legends present

  • Text: [obdu]rare corda vestra
  • Location: Fol. 15r
  • Type: Secundo folio

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: MS 268
Primary reference Number: 169761
Project ID: 102
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 27 February 2023 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: 2024-04-20 14:56:14

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{{cite web|url= |title=Book of Hours |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-04-20 14:56:14|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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