Medieval Manuscripts: The Bedford Hours

This week, our friends at Facsimile Finder give us a taste of the Bedford Hours, considered by scholars to be one of the most astonishing examples of manuscript illumination from the late medieval period. Its countless, gorgeous illustrations and bilingual text were produced in several stages as the book passed from hand to hand throughout the decades.

Probably created around 1410-1415, the volume underwent the most meaningful changes in the late 1420s thanks to its owner John of Lancaster, Duke of Bedford. These include a series of full-page miniatures from Genesis, the Legend of the Fleurs-de-lis, and portraits of the Duke and his wife Anne.

Some of the most glorious achievements in this volume are the 38 splendid full-page illuminations and the over 1200 historiated medallions placed over the full ivy-leaf borders surrounding the miniatures.

The Latin text is embellished with numerous gold initials, while French explanations of the miniatures appear in red, blue, and gold at the bottom of each page. The Bedford Hours is currently preserved in the British Library in London.

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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