|Every Book of Hours is unique. Its content—textual and pictorial—can vary enormously from volume to volume. Nevertheless, there are certain sections that are standard and are found in most Books of Hours, and the subjects of the miniatures that usually illustrate them are likewise standard.
“What is a Book of Hours” presents a brief introduction on Books of Hours, their history, patronage, content, and use.
In “Structure of a Book of Hours” a chart shows the sections of standard text on the left and the usual theme of the miniatures accompanying them on the right. Click on the sections of text to read short explanations of these textual sections.
In “Take the Online Tutorial” click on the view image link on the right in the chart to see the corresponding miniature for each section of text from Morgan MS M.1093 and to read about the content and meaning of the picture.
A Book of Hours from the holdings of The Pierpont Morgan Library, MS M.1093, illustrates the Basic Tutorial. M.1093 is by a highly professional workshop that specialized in Books of Hours, and it is a typical example of the genre—neither too richly illustrated, with too many departures from the norm, nor too modestly illustrated, without miniatures for the standard sections. Morgan MS M.1093 constitutes a standard to which other Books of Hours can thus readily be compared.