Curatorial Snapshots: McGill’s Books of Hours

Richard Virr, Retired Chief Curator, Rare Books and Special Collections and co-curator of the Resplendent Illuminations exhibit currently running at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts has chosen 13 notable images from McGill’s holdings to give us a taste of this remarkable collection of devotional materials. Enjoy the slideshow and read more about the MMFA exhibit and our physical and digital collection below.

  • Books of Hours were sometimes personalized by inscribing in them the names of the owners' patrons. This personalized leaf marks the marriage of Jehan Drulhon, a citizen of Clermont in the Auvergne, and Antoinette Fayete. These names and the initials I A, linked by a love knot, are traced in black capitals. LVH.0013. 1-2 MS 105. Manuscript leaf of the Heures, dites de Drulhon-Fayete Master of Guillaume Lambert (and his workshop for the borders) About 1475-1480, Lyon.
    Books of Hours were sometimes personalized by inscribing in them the names of the owners' patrons. This personalized leaf marks the marriage of Jehan Drulhon, a citizen of Clermont in the Auvergne, and Antoinette Fayete. These names and the initials I A, linked by a love knot, are traced in black capitals. LVH.0013. 1-2 MS 105. Manuscript leaf of the Heures, dites de Drulhon-Fayete Master of Guillaume Lambert (and his workshop for the borders) About 1475-1480, Lyon.

This is the very first exhibition at the MMFA dedicated to the Books of Hours in medieval and Renaissance art, offering a chance to discover an overlooked heritage through a remarkable selection of illuminations and bound manuscripts preserved in Quebec, dating from the 13th to the 16th centuries. Books of hours were created for lay people and were popularized by the Christian faithful. These manuscripts were, for the most part, personalized and illuminated with miniature paintings ― or illuminations ― illustrating the life of Christ, the saints or the Virgin Mary. They incorporated a calendar of holy and religious feasts, passages from the gospels and prayers. The fruit of in-depth academic research, this exhibition comprises more than 50 artifacts (leaves, complete manuscripts, prints), which offer an up-close look at these treasures gathered from seven collections.

An exhibition organized by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, in collaboration with Université du Québec à Montréal and McGill University. – MMFA site

There’s still time to catch Resplendent Illuminations: Books of Hours from the 13th to the 16th Century in Quebec Collections as it runs until 6 January 2019. Click here for more information. if you can’t make it to the exhibit, visit our digital collection Horae: Collection of Books of Hours here.

 

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