Les Enluminures Offers a Unique Chance to Own a Piece of Medieval History: Books of Hours
For the ardent collectors and connoisseurs of medieval art and history, there is an opportunity that should not be missed. Les Enluminures, one of the world’s most prestigious dealers in manuscripts, miniatures, and finger rings from the Middle Ages, is offering a unique and rare chance to own a piece of medieval history with their collection of Books of Hours.
A Book of Hours is a scarce and opulently illuminated Christian devotional book prevalent in the Middle Ages. This meticulously crafted work of art served as the layman’s personal prayer book and contained standardized prayers for each hour of the day, accompanied by vivid illustrations often embellished with gold detailing. Each Book of Hours was unique, personalized to suit its owner’s preferences, making them highly collectible and sought after treasures.
The tradition dates back to the 13th century when the wealthy classes, mainly nobility and clergy, commissioned these Books of Hours for their private worship. Through the 14th and 15th centuries, they became more widespread among the educated middle class as well. The Books of Hours were considered a symbol of prestige, piety, and wealth due to their lavish decorations and intricate illustrations.
Les Enluminures has been specializing in private manuscript sales since it was founded by Dr. Sandra Hindman in 1991. With galleries in Paris, New York City, and Chicago, they have been at the forefront of showcasing extraordinary examples of medieval art over the years.
The current offering of Books of Hours include works that span over two centuries with origins primarily from France but also from other regions such as Flanders and Italy. Some notable highlights include:
1) “The Albani Hours,” which is named after its last-known Holy Roman Emperor owner – Prince Camillo Francesco Maria Pamphilij Albani (1671-1751). This beautifully illuminated manuscript is believed to have originated from the circle of Jean Poyer, a famous 15th-century French artist.
2) A book of hours created for Anne de France, daughter of King Louis XI, with luxuriant borders and featuring exceptional miniatures created by the Master of Spencer 6, a renowned artist of medieval France.
3) An exquisite 15th-century Flemish Book of Hours that includes full-page miniatures attributed to the talented Master of the David scenes in the Grimani Breviary.
It is not often that one can acquire such splendid examples of medieval history that were once an indispensable part of daily life in the Middle Ages. Through years of scholarship and research, Les Enluminures stands as an escrow between the past and the modern era in terms of art appreciation, allowing collectors to own these timeless artifacts and thereby symbolically connecting with centuries-old moments.
The ownership and possession of a Book of Hours is akin to holding onto a fragment of an era teeming with devotion and artistry. It offers a rare opportunity for history buffs and collectors to truly cherish and preserve this vanishing legacy for future generations while enriching their own lives with these extraordinary pieces.