The Murthly Hours: Devotion, Literacy, and Luxury in Paris, England, and the Gaelic West

The Murthly Hours: Devotion, Literacy, and Luxury in Paris, England, and the Gaelic West

by John Higgitt
     
 

ISBN-10: 0802047599

ISBN-13: 9780802047595

Pub. Date: 01/16/2001

Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division

The Murthly Hours consists of two parts: a book of hours of the end of the thirteenth century preceded by twenty-three slightly earlier miniatures of Old and New Testament scenes surviving from another book, probably a psalter. It is therefore one of the earliest books of hours, written before the greater standardization of text and decoration during the

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Overview

The Murthly Hours consists of two parts: a book of hours of the end of the thirteenth century preceded by twenty-three slightly earlier miniatures of Old and New Testament scenes surviving from another book, probably a psalter. It is therefore one of the earliest books of hours, written before the greater standardization of text and decoration during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The book was a special commission and reflects the interests and devotions of its first owner, a lady apparently from the Worcester area whose portrait appears in one of the initials. The choice of feasts in the calendar and the choice of saints invoked in the litany reflects the owner's taste. They show how the book was used and can tell us something about secular devotions and literacy among the aristocracy in England and the West of Scotland in the later Middle Ages. The book also contains the second oldest surviving pieces of Gaelic which can be said with certainty to have been written in Scotland rather than in Ireland. They were written phonetically by someone not trained to write Gaelic and one piece has been identified as a form of charm.

John Higgitt recounts the provenance of this magnificent work of medieval art and its recent rediscovery and purchase by the National Library of Scotland. He discusses the writing, decoration, and style of illumination and the particular influence of the Paris school on the manuscript artists. The author presents the first interpretive study which will be of interest to historians of art, liturgy, and medieval literacy.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802047595
Publisher:
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
Publication date:
01/16/2001
Series:
British Library Studies in Medieval Culture Series
Edition description:
BK&CD-ROM
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
7.29(w) x 9.99(h) x 1.16(d)

Table of Contents

List of Colour Plates
List of Illustrations
List of Tables
Acknowledgements
Ch. 1Introduction1
Ch. 2The Origins and History of the Murthly Hours from the Thirteenth Century to the Present5
Ch. 3The Writing and Decoration of the Book of Hours48
Ch. 4The Murthly Hours and Illumination in France and England during the Second Half of the Thirteenth Century102
Ch. 5Meanings and Diversions in the Decoration of the Book of Hours131
Ch. 6Devotion and Literacy: the Murthly Hours and the Early Book of Hours in England and France165
Ch. 7The Full-Page Miniatures194
Ch. 8The Murthly Hours and the Illuminated Manuscript in Medieval Scotland277
Ch. 9Conclusion284
Appendix 1Collation289
Appendix 2The Ruling305
Appendix 3The Calendar of the Murthly Hours306
Appendix 4The Original Contents of the Murthly Hours312
Appendix 5Later Additions in Latin and French331
Appendix 6Later Additions in Gaelic (Transcription, Translation and Commentary by Ronald Black)336
Appendix 7Calendar Fragment found under the Paste-Down (MS 21000 A)346
Appendix 8The Decoration of the Bas-de-page: a Survey of Subjects348
Index353

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