Les Enluminures

About us

This site presents Books of Hours, the medieval “bestseller,” for sale by Les Enluminures.

It includes full descriptions and images for every Book of Hours on the site. Examples represent a wide range of Books of Hours available on the market, manuscripts made in France, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and Italy and dating from c. 1400 to c. 1540. Some printed Books of Hours are included. Tutorials offer tools for learning more about Books of Hours. Visitors can search by artist, country, date, price range, and reference number.

Explore the enduring fascination Books of Hours held for their owners, then and now.



What is a Book of Hours?

“It is a commonplace to describe Books of Hours as “the medieval best-sellers,” but it is also true that they are among the most commercially successful manuscripts in the modern world. There has probably never been a moment since the Middle Ages when it has not been possible to buy a manuscript Book of Hours. Only billionaires today can realistically possess Rembrandts or Monets: very few academic art historians could hope to do so. This is not so with Books of Hours. Even now, a moderate medieval Book of Hours... is not at all beyond the aspirations of any scholar on a normal professional or university salary. The experience of walking through the countryside with a chunky little medieval Book of Hours in one’s pocket or of looking at it in bed at night is magical....There are Books of Hours still living in the wild and, when all have been chased and captured, the world will have lost something precious and very old.”

Christopher de Hamel