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Manuscript - Leaf from a Book of Hours

Leaf from a Book of Hours

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Paris (illuminated)

  • Date:

    ca. 1440-1450 (illuminated)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Dunois Master (illuminator)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Water-based pigments, gilding and ink on parchment

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Medieval & Renaissance, Room 10, case 3

The Dunois Master was once known as 'The principal associate of the Bedford Master'. The Bedford Master took his name from two outstanding manuscripts made for John of Lancaster, Duke of Bedford and brother of Henry V, victor at Agincourt in 1415. The Bedford Master's style was widely practised in Paris. The Dunois Master appears to have adopted most closely the painting style and models of the Bedford Master.

The miniature on the leaf shows scenes from the life of St Giles, who was born in Athens but made his way to Rome before retiring into a forest between Arles and Nîmes in southern France. St Giles lived there as a hermit, surviving on milk from a tame doe. One day the king wounded both the deer and St Giles while he was out hunting. In repentence for this action, he built a monastery of which Giles became the abbot. This is the famous monastery of St Gilles, near Arles, which was to become an important place of pilgrimage in the Middle Ages.

Physical description

Specimen of a manuscript

Place of Origin

Paris (illuminated)


ca. 1440-1450 (illuminated)


Dunois Master (illuminator)

Materials and Techniques

Water-based pigments, gilding and ink on parchment


Height: 125 mm, Width: 90 mm

Historical context note

Data taken from notes compiled by Rowan Watson. The full text of the entry is as follows:

(the following text refers to E.4580-1910 to E.4583-1910)

'Leaves from a Book of Hours illustrated by the Chief Associate of the Bedford Master'

Individual item text

'E. 4582 -1910
Leaf, with half-page miniature (st Gilles praying at altar before chalice and altarpiece, in front of king with covered crown kneeling before book, within gold fillet) : Saint in Franciscan habit holding red book, sheltering hart and pierced with arrow shot by archer huntsman; marginal decoration of acanthus, fruit and flowers

Rubric (on recto): De sancto egidio An'. (on verso) Suscipientes beati Egidii

France (Paris). c. 1440-1450
(125 x 90) mm; written space 65 x 45 mm; 12 lines.

Spitzer Coll; Salting Bequest to V&A 1910'

Descriptive line

Leaf from a Book of Hours with half-page miniature showing a scene from the life of St Giles by the Dunois Master; France (Paris); ca 1440-1450

Labels and date

Illuminated by the Dunois Master About 1440-1500

These leaves were once part of a bound Book of Hours, in a section devoted to prayers to a number of saints. On the left-hand leaf is a prayer to St Giles and on the right to St Julian. Both are accompanied with scenes from their lives.

France, Paris
Ink on parchment, with pigment and gold
Museum nos. E.4582, 4583-1910



Subjects depicted

Deer; Angels


Christianity; Religion; Royalty; Manuscripts


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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