Bedford Book of Hours

A book of hours made in the first decades of the 15th century. It is named after its first owner, John of Lancaster, 1st duke of Bedford (1389-1435). Among the medieval books of hours that still exist today, it is one of the most lavishly illustrated. It is kept in the British Library in London.

There is no certainty about who commissioned it. Louis of Guyenne, a son of King Charles VI of France, is the most likely candidate. The book was probably made in Paris.

The name of the artists is also unknown. Most illustrations were made by one person, who was given the name Bedford Master.

Folios 13-18 were inserted at a later time. They contain four full-page miniatures of stories in Genesis and one page with a heraldic tree. The History of Adam and Eve differs: the style of the figures is different, and the drawing crosses the frame's borders. König (2006) says it was made entirely by the Bedford Master, who also prepared the other three. They were finished by another artist, the Master of the Munich Golden Legend. 

Literature: E. König, Das Stundenbuch des Herzogs von Bedford. Luzern/London 2006.

Related topics: Illuminated manuscripts

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