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Manuscript - Book of Hours of Margaret of Foix, Use of Paris

Book of Hours of Margaret of Foix, Use of Paris

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    France (made)
    Rennes? (made)

  • Date:

    1471-1476 (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Ink, pigments and gold on parchment. Leather binding over wooden boards.

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by George Salting in 1910

  • Museum number:

    MSL/1910/2385 (Salting 1222)

  • Gallery location:

    National Art Library

Physical description

Foliation: parchment. i-v (original 15th-century parchment, ff.ii-v ruled for text) + 228 ff.

Number of lines: 15 lines.

Language: Latin and French.

Script: lettre bâtarde.

Textual content:
ff. 1r-6v: Calendar, full, in French, of conventional Parisian aspect. Major feasts in burnished gold.
ff. 13r-21v: Gospel pericopes (ff. 13r-14v: John; ff. 15r-17r: Luke; ff. 17v-19v: Matthew; ff. 20r-21v: Mark).
ff. 22r-27r: Prayer to the Virgin.
ff. 27v-32v: Prayer to the Virgin.
ff. 33r-98r: Hours of the Virgin, Use of Paris, with rubrics in Latin.
ff. 99r-124r: Penitential Psalms with litany followed by petitions.
ff. 125r-134r: Hours of the Cross.
ff. 135r-143r: Hours of the Holy Spirit.
ff. 144r-199v: Office of the Dead, Use of Paris.
ff. 200r-222r: Suffrages.
ff. 223r-225v: Prayers added on a separate gathering.
f.227v: Prayer added in a late 15th- or early 16th-century hand.

Decoration: 12 miniatures in the calendar representing the occupation associated with each month, i.e. harvesting in July and slaughtering pigs in December (ff. 1r, 2r, 3r, 4r, 5r, 6r, 7r, 8r, 9r, 10r, 11r, 12r). Each is also accompanied by an illumination of the corresponding zodiacal signs.
12 full page miniatures with one scene from the Old Testament (Moses on f. 135v) and the rest from the New Testament (e.g. birth of the Virgin, Flight to Egypt, Pentecost, Passion, Last Judgment etc. - ff. 33r, 47r, 60v, 68r, 73v, 78v, 84r, 92r, 99r, 125r, 135r, 144r). Most are composite images but some are unified compositions comprising several incidents to form a narrative (ff. 60v, 73v, 84r, 99v, 125r).
23 half-page miniatures representing the Apostles, Virgin, Holy Trinity or Saints (ff. 13v, 15r, 17r, 20r, 22r, 27v, 200r, 201r, 202r, 203r, 204r, 206r, 208r, 209r, 210v, 211v, 213r, 214v, 215v, 216v, 217v, 219v, 221r).
2 small miniatures are integrated into the text (ff. 21v, 222r).
The manuscript also comprises foliated border ornaments, line endings and letter-shape initials.

Binding: ca. 1470s, France. Calf over wooden boards bevelled from the outside, blind-stamped with nine tools (four-petal rosette within a circle and a cross, dragon’s head, heart surmounted by an open three-pointed crown, 2-legged and crouched dragon, standing rabbit, running 4-legged dragon, fleur-de-lys between two stars, sitting hare, running dogs). Spine of eight compartments, each with the stamp of a diamond-shaped tool at the centre. Sewn on seven double thongs of white leather, attached to the boards with channels and plugs.

Place of Origin

France (made)
Rennes? (made)


1471-1476 (made)

Materials and Techniques

Ink, pigments and gold on parchment. Leather binding over wooden boards.


Height: 185 mm, Width: 120 mm, Height: 82 mm Text block - Calendar, Width: 48 mm Text block - Calendar, Height: 80 mm Text block, Width: 45-48 mm Text block

Object history note

(1) Illuminated and perhaps written in Brittany (Rennes?) between 1471 and 1477 for François II, duke of Brittany (b. 1435) and his second wife, Margaret de Foix (d. 15 May 1487). Erased arms of the Brittany and Foix appear on ff. 21v, 47r and 222r).
(2) Given by Hippolyte d'Argenté, President of Enquêtes of the Parlement of Rennes from 1602, to Claude Dumolinet (1620-1687), librarian of the abbey of St Geneviève, Paris, from 1675 as recorded in two inscriptions on ff. 228r and f.i recto.
(3) Collection Freric Spitzer, lot 3015 of the 1893 sale.
(4) Collection of George Salting (1836-1909), bequeathed to the V&A in 1910 (no. 1022).

Descriptive line

Manuscript, Book of Hours (the 'Margaret de Foix Hours'), France (Rennes?), ca. 1471-1476.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

pp. 137-138, no. 13
La collection Spitzer, Antiquité, Moyen Âge, Renaissance. 6 vols. Paris, 1892. vol. V with notices of manuscripts by Léopold Delisle and Auguste Molinier.
Burlington Fine Arts Club. Catalogue. 1908, pp. 106-107, no. 217; pl. 136.
p. 38
Victoria and Albert Museum Guides. The Salting Collection. with 16 illustrations. London, 1911.
p. 40
Victoria and Albert Museum. A guide to the Salting Collection. London, 1926.
p. 338
Ker, N.R. Medieval Manuscripts in British Libraries I. Oxford: 1967.
pp. 122-125
Harthan, J.Books of Hours and their owners. London, 1977.
pp. 120, nos 328, 253.
König, E. Französische Buchmalerei um 1450. Der Jouvenal-Maler, der Maler des Genfer Boccaccio und die Anfänge Jean Fouquets. Berlin, 1982.
Watson, R. 'The Margaret de Foix Book of Hours'. The V&A Album, 2, 1983, pp. 44-60.
La Bretagne au temps des ducs, catalogue of an exhibition held at the Abbey de Daoulas, June-Oct. 1991, and Musée Dobrée, Nantes, Nov. 1991-Feb. 1992, Daoulas, 1991, pp. 66-67, no. 68.
part. 2, 1992, p. 237, cat. no. 147 (Walters MS W. 250)
Randall, L. M.C.Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts in the Walters Art Gallery. vol. II, parts 1 and 2, France 1420-1540. Baltimore, 1992.
p. 175
Avril, F. and N. Reynaud. Les Manuscrits à peintures en France, 1440-1520. Paris, 1993.
pp. 102-103
Watson, R. Illuminated manuscripts and their makers. An account based on the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum. London, 2003.
Cassagnes-Brouquet, S. La Passion du livre au moyen âge. Rennes, 2003, pp. 74-75.
L'Estrange, E. 'Anne peperit Mariam, Elizabeth Johannem, Maria Christum: images of childbirth in late-medieval manuscripts'. In Manuscripts in Transition. Recycling manuscript, texts and images, ed. B. Dekeyzer and Jan Van der Stock. Paris, Louvain and Dudley, 2005, pp. 343, 344, 346, no. 42.
Avril, F. ' Les copies à repetition. A propos de la circulation et de la dissémination des modèles'. In Tributes to Jonathan J.G. Alexander, ed. S. L'Engle and G. B. Guest. London and Turnhout, 2008, p. 131.
L'Estrange, E. Holy Motherhood. Manchester, 2008, pp. 219-234, 257-259.
Townsend, E. Art and death, Europe 1200-1500. London, 2009, p. 61.
Booton, D. E. 'The book trade in and beyond the Duchy of Brittany'. In The culture and political legacy of Anne de Bretagne, ed. C.J. Brown. Cambridge, 2012, pp. 13-14.
L'Estrange, E. 'Penitence, motherhood and Passion devotion'. In The culture and political legacy of Anne de Bretagne, ed. C.J. Brown, Cambridge, 2010, pp. 92, 93, 97.
Booton, D. E. Manuscripts, markets and the transition to print in late medieval Brittany. Farnham, 2010, pp. 78, 79, 94, 152, 163, 319.
vol. 1, pp. 301-311, cat. 53.
Watson, R. Western Illuminated Manuscripts.Victoria and Albert Museum. A catalogue of works in the National Art Library from the eleventh to the early twentieth century, with a complete account of the George Reid Collection. London, 2011.


Parchment; Ink; Pigments; Gold; Calf leather; Wood




National Art Library; Books; Manuscripts; Medieval and renaissance; Books of Hours

Production Type



National Art Library

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