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Medieval Manuscripts: The Black Hours

Eager to dive into medieval literature? You’ll be surprised by this exquisitely elegant, blue and black book of hours painted in 15th century Bruges, unveiled by our friends at Facsimile Finder.

The Black Hours is a splendidly decorated devotional book, crafted around 1475 in Bruges and currently stored in the Morgan Library & Museum (MS M.493) in New York City. The manuscript was probably created in the workshop of Willem Vrelant, one of the most influential illuminators of his time.

Because all 121 vellum folios are stained in black, only white lead and opaque paints were used for the miniatures. Similarly, the text was written in gold and silver ink to make the writing stand out against the dark background.

The decorative apparatus of the Black Hours is possibly unique in the world: more than half of the folios are ornate with large, blue borders enriched by gleaming gold acanthus leaves and drolleries.

 

Our thanks to Facsimile Finder for helping us create this post. You can learn more about this manuscript and see more images by visiting their website.

Please also check out their social media – Twitter, Instagram and their Youtube channel, which features dozens of videos of medieval manuscripts.

 

 



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