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Van Alfen Hours

Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description This Dutch book of hours was made for a female patron, possibly pictured on fol. 109r, in the mid-fifteenth century. Originally richly illuminated by the workshop of the Master of Catherine of Cleves, the manuscript now lacks all of its full-page miniatures, although the eight surviving historiated initials speak to its original grandeur. Its rebinding in the seventeenth century resulted in the loss of several folios and the reordering of many of the texts. While the catalog description here remains faithful to the order of the texts as they appear today, an attempt has been made within the individual parts to reconstruct the original layout of the manuscript.
Date Description Narrative
  • Illuminated Manuscripts: Masterpieces in Miniature. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1984-1985.
  • Time Sanctified: The Book of Hours in Medieval Art and Life. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1988.
  • Manuscript Sleuthing: Discoveries of a Curator. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1995.
  • The Origins of Dutch Painting: Manuscripts from the Fifteenth Century. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1998.
  • Mirror of a Medieval World. The Hours of Catherine of Cleves. Museum Het Valkhof Nijmegen, Nijmegen. 2009-2010.
Provenance Sashers family, Netherlands, (notes of births, 1605-1610 fol. 240r) [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Van der Feer Lader Collection [no. 83], Netherlands [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Ph. J. van Alfen of Doorn, Netherlands [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Sotheby's Sale, New York, December 6, 1971, lot 54; Walters Art Museum, 1971, by purchase.
Credit Museum purchase, 1971

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mid 15th century (Gothic)
ink and pigments on thin to medium-weight smooth vellum bound between pasteboard covered with brown calfskin
(Manuscripts & Rare Books)
Accession Number
Overall H: 6 1/16 x W: 4 5/8 x D: 1 3/4 in. (15.4 x 11.8 x 4.5 cm); Folio H: 5 11/16 × W: 4 5/16 in. (14.5 × 11 cm)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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