Book of Hours


BOOK OF HOURS (A Rouen Book of Hours of the Sarum use)

RIA MS 12 R 31
c. A.D. 1444
Vellum: 23cm x 16cm
293 folios with 28 miniatures


Written in Latin, French and English at Rouen. It belonged to Thomas, Lord Hoo, Chancellor of Normandy and France, and his portrait and that of his wife are in the book. There are three hands in the decoration of the borders and two miniaturists, the one referred to as the Hoo Master being responsible for 27 of the 28 miniatures. The miniature on f. 200v showing St Hildevert is the work of the ‘Talbot Master’, so-called because he illustrated the Talbot Book of Hours (Fitzwillliam Museum, Cambridge, MS 40-1950).

The prayers are attributed to figures from the Old Testament and seem to reflect or typify episodes and responsibilities in Lord Hoo’s own life. The contents include prayers, litanies and two prayers in old French (1) Fifteen Joys of the Virgin and (2) the rare ‘Seven Requests’ which are also to be found in a 15th-century manuscript prayer-book in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin (K 4 27). The text has one unique section, a compilation of Old Testament prayers in Latin with English rubrics. The binding in red morocco leather with gilt-edged leaves dates from 1600.

It is not known how the Book got from France to Scotland and, according to a note on the fly-leaf, it belonged to the Lindores family, a Scottish peerage. It was given to Mary Queen of Scots by John de la Pole who inherited it from Lady Lindores. The Book was presented to the Royal Irish Academy by H.A. Forbes in 1874.

- Footnote in Proc. Soc. of Antiquaries, 24 January, 1889, 287, ‘Les Septs Requiestes ...’.
- John Scattergood, ‘Two medieval service books’ in Bernadette Cunningham and Siobhán Fitzpatrick (eds), Treasures of the Royal Irish Academy Library (Dublin, 2009), 51-5.
- Leslie Williams, 'A French book of hours in the Royal Irish Academy', The Arts in Ireland, Vol. 2(3) (1974), 32-9.
- Leslie L. Williams, ‘A Rouen book of hours of the Sarum use, c. 1444 belonging to Thomas, Lord Hoo, Chancellor of Normandy and France’, Proc. RIA 75 C 9 (1975), 189-212.
- Catherine Yvard, ‘Minute masterpieces: study of a late fifteenth-century French bookof hours (CBL WMs 89)’, Trinity College, Dublin, PhD thesis, 2004, 4 vols, IV, 83-92.

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