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Hours: MS Marlay 4

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Object information

Current Location: In storage




Artist: Giovanni, Gherardo di and assistants




PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Parchment, i contemporary parchment flyleaf + 243 fols. + i contemporary parchment flyleaf, 107 x 75 mm (60 x 38 mm), 12 long lines, ruled in black ink

BINDING: Twentieth century, red leather over wooden boards, rebound at the Fitzwilliam Museum by Robert Proctor, preserving a sample of the sixteenth-century crimson silk cover and re-using the sixteenth-century gilt corner pieces (two on each cover), clasp with niello inscription AVE MARIA (re-attached to upper cover), and catchplate (re-attached to lower cover), edges gilt and gauffered.

fols. 1r-12v Calendar
fols. 14r-111v Hours of the Virgin
fols. 112r-147v Penitential Psalms and Litany
fols. 148r-215v Office of the Dead
fols. 218r-235r Gradual Psalms, with versicles, responses and collects
fols. 236r-243r Short Hours of the Cross

DECORATION: Full-page framed miniature with framed border formed of gold branchwork with pearls and rubies on blue ground: fol. 13v Hours of the Virgin, Annunciation.

Four historiated initials in blue or dark pink with delicate white floral motifs and acanthus extensions on gold grounds (except fol. 148r, initial in light blue with gold diamond pattern on dark red ground with floral ornament in gold ink), accompanied by full or partial floral borders terminating in spraywork with gold balls: fol. 14r Hours of the Virgin, Matins, [D, 6 ll.] Virgin and Child, surrounded by a full, framed floral border including a medallion with a prophet in the outer border and, in the lower border, a laurel wreath flanked by two putti and enclosing the arms of the Forteguerri family of Pistoia (party per pale, dexter or, sinister vair of argent and azure); fol. 112r Penitential Psalms, [D, 6 ll.] David playing the psaltery, with three-sided floral border including a psaltery; fol. 148r Office of the Dead, [D, 6 ll.] Half-length skeleton with scroll inscribed PENSA AL FINE, with three-sided floral border; fol. 236r Short Hours of the Cross, [D, 6 ll.] Empty Cross on Golgotha, with two-sided floral border.

ORNAMENTATION: Ornamental initials [4-5 ll.] in blue or dark pink with delicate white floral motifs and acanthus extensions on gold grounds, and partial floral borders terminating in spraywork with gold balls, for the remaining canonical hours of the Virgin (fols. 30r, 47v, 54r, 59v, 64v, 70r, 80r) and for the Gradual Psalms (fol. 218r); alternate blue and red penwork initials [2 ll.] with red or violet pen-flourished infill and extensions; alternate red and blue one-line penwork initials.


History note: Made for a member of the Forteguerri family of Pistoia (arms on fol. 14r); Charles Brinsley Marlay (1831–1912); his bequest, 1912.

Place(s) associated

  • Florence

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1912) by Marlay, Charles Brinsley


15th Century, Late
Circa 1490 CE - Circa 1500 CE

People, subjects and objects depicted


  • Cambridge Illuminated

Materials used in production


Components of the work

Support composed of parchment

Techniques used in production


Inscription or legends present

  • Text: Domine labia mea
  • Location: Fol. 14r
  • Type: Secundo folio

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: MS Marlay 4
Primary reference Number: 178329
Project ID: 1337
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 24 August 2020 Last processed: Friday 8 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

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

Citation for print

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Hours" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-03-03 16:03:46

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