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Amherst Hours

Description Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description This book of hours was written in Dutch in the fifteenth century for the use of Utrecht. The Hours of the Virgin and of the Cross are accompanied here by the Dutch translation of Henry Suso's "Cursus aeternae sapientiae," a text that was particularly popular for private devotion in the Netherlands. Once owned by the English collector Lord Amherst, the manuscript is exceptional for its extensive illumination. Webs of foliage cover every margin, most sprouting medallions containing flora and fauna. The divisions in the text are marked by twenty richly painted full-page miniatures, often accompanied by related marginalia. Further illumination in the form of historiated and foliate initials marks minor breaks in the text, and the overall effect is a visual feast for the reader.
  • The Nativity in Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1987-1988.
  • The Origins of Dutch Painting: Manuscripts from the Fifteenth Century. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1998.
  • The Christmas Story: Picturing the Birth of Christ in Medieval Manuscripts. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2009-2010.
Provenance Reynold Gideon Bowyer, Goettingen, Germany [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; William, Baron Amherst, London, before 1908 [mode of acquisition unknown]; Amherst Sale, London, December 3, 1908, no. 462; Lady William Cecil Sale, London, December 12, 1911, no. 57; Bishop (?), London, 1911 by purchase; Sotheby Sale, London, January 17, 1921, no. 58; Herzberger, London, 1921, by purchase; Henry Walters, Paris, 1925, by purchase [through Paul Gruel (?)]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, 1925

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ink and pigments on well finished, very thin to medium-weight, worn parchment bound between pulp- or paste-board covered with gilt tooled, eighteenth-century green morocco
(Manuscripts & Rare Books)
Accession Number
Overall H: 6 5/16 x 4 5/16 in. (16 x 11 cm); Folio H: 6 1/8 × 4 7/16 in. (15.5 × 11.3 cm)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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