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Book of Hours: MS 53

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Current Location: In storage


Book of Hours




PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Parchment, ii paper flyleaves + ii parchment flyleaves + 186 fols. + ii parchment flyleaves + ii paper flyleaves, 235 x 173 (135 x 85) mm, 20 long lines, ruled in red ink, leaves lost between fols. iv – 1, 9 – 10, 23 – 24, 33 – 34, 67 – 68.

BINDING: 17th century, gold-tooled brown leather over pasteboards, traces of two ties on fore edge, edges gilt, modern spine repair.

CONTENTS: fols. 1r – 5v Calendar (starts imperfectly); fols. 6v – 8r Prayers to Guardian angel and saints; fols. 8v – 9v Suffrages; fols. 10r – 14v Fifteen Oes (start imperfectly); fols. 15v – 25v Suffrages; fols. 26v – 79v Hours of the Virgin with memoriae at Lauds, Hours of the Cross, and Hours of the Compassion of the Virgin intermixed; fols. 79v – 81r Salve Regina and other prayers; fols. 81v – 85r Salve Virgo Virginum and other prayers; fols. 85r – 86v O intemerata
fols. 86v – 89r Obsecro te; fols. 89r – 90v Ave mundi spes Maria; fols. 90v – 93v Seven Joys of the Virgin; fols. 93v O domina glorie, o regina leticie
fols. 94r – 95r Ave domine ihesu christe verbum patris and other prayers to Christ; fols. 95r – 95v Indulgenced prayer of Philip of France, Domine ihesu christi qui hanc sacratissimam carnem; fols. 96v – 104r Penitential Psalms
fols. 104r – 110r Gradual Psalms; fols. 110r – 118r Litany; fols. 119v – 147v Office of the Dead; fols. 148v – 158v Commendation of the soul; fols. 159v – 169v Psalms of the Passion; fols. 170v – 181v Psalter of St Jerome; fols. 181v – 186v Prayers and hymns to Christ (starting with Phil. 2:10 – 11), in Latin and English (addition).

DECORATION: Eighteen full-page miniatures in wide pink, blue and gold stepped frames with corner medallions enclosing figures drawn in liquid gold, and full borders with acanthus, flowers, berries, birds, animals, and half-length figures on plain parchment grounds (except fols. 6v and fol. 8v, thin gold and pink frames without roundels, and gold panel borders with acanthus, flowers, berries, birds and figures) for major text divisions, accompanied on facing rectos in the Hours of the Virgin by 7 large miniatures with identical frames and full borders, and three-sided bar-borders of foliage on gold grounds:
fol. 6v Prayer to Guardian angel, Angel standing over open grave, holding mirror reflecting a skull, and flanked by two scrolls inscribed: Domine quod est nichil est preter est deum and Respice quod prodest presentis temporis euum; fol. 8v Suffrages, Twelve Apostles paired in six compartments: Saints Peter and Paul, John and Andrew, James and Jude, Thomas and James the Less, Simon and Matthias, Bartholomew and Matthew; fol. 15v St John the Baptist, with monks in frame medallions; fol. 17v St George, with St Adrian, St Victor with windmill, a soldier-saint and St Sebastian with arrows in frame medallions; fol. 19v St Christopher, with monks in frame; fol. 21v St Catherine, wheel destroyed by missiles from Heaven, with female saints including St Helena with Tau Cross in frame medallions; fol. 23v St Barbara, with female saints including St Apollonia with pincers in frame medallions; fol. 26v Hours of the Virgin, Matins, Agony in the Garden and Betrayal, with angels in frame medallions; fol. 27r Annunciation, with angels in frame medallions and peacock in border; fol. 34r Lauds, Visitation, with angels in frame medallions and goldfinch in border; fol. 48v Prime, Christ before Pilate, with angels in frame medallions; fol. 49r Adoration of the Child, with musical angels in frame medallions; fol. 53v Prime, Flagellation, with angels in frame medallions; fol. 54r Annunciation to the Shepherds, with angels in frame medallions; fol. 58v Sext, Road to Calvary, with angels in frame medallions; fol. 59r Adoration of the Magi, with musical angels in frame medallions; fol. 63v None, Crucifixion with Virgin swooning, St John, St Mary Magdalene, and soldiers, sorrowing angels in frame medallions; fol. 64r Circumcision, with musical angels in frame medallions; fol. 68r Vespers, Massacre of the Innocents, with angels in frame medallions and soldier and baby in border; fol. 74v Compline, Entombment with Three Women and St John, angels in frame medallions; fol. 75r Flight into Egypt, with angels in frame medallions; fol. 96v Penitential Psalms, Last Judgement, St Peter leading blessed souls into church, devils take damned ones to Hell, with penitent souls in frame medallions; fol. 119v Office of the Dead, Funeral service, with St Denis, St Augustine, and two saintly archbishops in frame medallions; fol. 148v Commendation of the soul, Souls of priest, man, and woman borne to God in heaven, with two soldiers and two monks in frame medallions; fol. 159v Psalms of the Passion, Christ as Man of Sorrows with Instruments of the Passion, Vernicle, and heads of Judas and Pilate, with sorrowing angels in frame medallions, and peacock and pelican in border; fol. 170v Psalter of St Jerome, St Jerome with lion, Saints Clement, Cornelius, saintly cardinal and saintly pope with dragon on chain in frame medallions, half-length bishop in border.

Twenty-four historiated initials [8 ll.] in white-patterned pink and blue on gold grounds, with three-sided borders as for the miniatures, for the memoriae, Hours of the Cross, Marian prayers, and Seven Joys of the Virgin:
fol. 40v Memoriae at Lauds, [V, 8 ll.] Holy Spirit; fol. 41v [M, 8 ll.] St Michael; fol. 42r [P, 8 ll.] Saints Peter and Paul; fol. 42v [A, 8 ll.] St Andrew; fol. 43r [L, 8 ll.] St Lawrence; fol. 43v [S, 8 ll.] St Stephen; fol. 44r [B, 8 ll.] St Nicholas restoring tonsured youths to life; fol. 45v [O, 8 ll.] All Saints including Saints Cornelius, Bartholomew, Thomas, a cardinal and a bishop; fol. 46r Hours of the Cross, Lauds, [P, 8 ll.] Crucifixion with Virgin and St John; fol. 52v Prime, [H, 8 ll.] Murder of Abner; fol. 56v Terce, [C, 8 ll.] Job attacked by devil, his wife wielding broom; fol. 61r Sext, [H, 8 ll.] Isaac bearing wood to sacrifice; fol. 66v None, [H, 8 ll.] Death of Absalom; fol. 72r Vespers, [D, 8 ll.] Jacob shown Joseph’s coat; fol. 78r Compline, [H, 8 ll.] Jonah thrown to whale; fol. 81v Salve virgo virginum, [S, 8 ll.] Annunciation; fol. 85r O intemerata, [O, 8 ll.] Virgin and Child, angel offering Christ an apple; fol. 90v Seven Joys of the Virgin, [V, 8 ll.] Presentation of the Virgin to the Temple; fol. 91r [D, 8 ll.] Octavian’s vision; fol. 91v [D, 8 ll.] Adoration of the Magi; fol. 92r [Q, 8 ll.] Resurrection with Christ stepping from tomb and sleeping soldiers, [Q, 8 ll.] Ascension; fol. 92v [S, 8 ll.] Pentecost; fol. 93r [A, 8 ll.] Birth of the Virgin.

ORNAMENTATION: Blue or pink white-patterned initials [5 – 7 ll.] with foliage infill on gold grounds and full borders matching and facing those for the miniatures at main text divisions; gold initials [3 – 5 ll.] on pink and blue grounds with liquid gold foliate designs or figures and objects referring to text at lesser divisions: fol. 7v [D, 3 ll.] Angel; fol. 10r Fifteen Oes, [O, 3 ll.] head of God the Father, [O, 3 ll.] three crosses; fol. 10v [O, 3 ll.] wounded right hand; fol. 12r [O, 3 ll.] schematic Five Wounds, [O, 3 ll.] head of Christ, [O, 3 ll.] pillar, spear, reed, cockerel; fol. 12v [O, 3 ll.] crowned head of woman; fol. 13v [O, 3 ll.] ladder and two scourges, [O, 3 ll.] hammer, pincers, three nails; fol. 22v [D, 3 ll.] Moses receiving Tablets of the Law; fol. 40v [C, 3 ll.] Christ displaying Wounds; fol. 52v [C, 3 ll.] Betrayal; fol. 57v Hours of the Compassion of the Virgin, Terce, [V, 5 ll.] suppliant figure before the Virgin and Child; fol. 110r Litany, [K, 5 ll.] Holy Spirit descending; fol. 121v De profundis, [D, 3 ll.] souls including pope in Hell-fire; fol. 141v Deus, Deus meus, [D, 3 ll.] soul in Hell-fire; fol. 155v Principes persecuti, [P, 3 ll.] head of God in rays; blue initials [2 ll.] with red pen-flourishing (fols. 181v – 186v); gold one-line initials on pink and blue white-patterned grounds; pink and blue bar linefillers with white and liquid gold motifs.


History note: Richard, seventh viscount Fitzwilliam of Merrion (1745 – 1816), acquired in 1812; his bequest, 1816.

Place(s) associated

  • Bruges ⪼ Flanders

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1816) by Fitzwilliam, Richard, 7th Viscount


15th Century, third quarter#
Circa 1460 CE - Circa 1470 CE

People, subjects and objects depicted


  • Cambridge Illuminated

Materials used in production


Components of the work

Support composed of parchment
Text Height 135 mm Width 85 mm
Page Height 235 mm Width 173 mm

Techniques used in production


Inscription or legends present

  • Text: et ad laudem
  • Type: Secundo folio

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: MS 53
Primary reference Number: 169713
Project ID: 62
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 13 November 2023 Last processed: Monday 13 November 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Manuscripts and Printed Books

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2023) "Book of Hours" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-11-30 00:53:40

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