Changes in Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts and Books that Required Rebinding

Leiden, University Library, BPL MS 2778, photo: Giulio Menna

By Dr. Kathryn M. Rudy / 09.19.2016
Senior Lecturer in Art History and Medieval Studies
University of St. Andrews

From Piety in Pieces: How Medieval Readers Customized their Manuscripts


Some augmentations did not require a medieval book owner to take the book apart. Owners and users simply made use of the blank and available space, and filled it with desired words and images. Every doodle, and most notes of ownership inscribed into the fronts (or backs) of books comprise additions of this sort. Yet the rest of the additions discussed in this study require adding physical material in such a way that it became structurally integrated with the original book. Most of this ancillary physical material came in the form of parchment. It provided more substrate for texts and images.

Single leaves were the simplest additions. Of course, there was an entire industry for the production of single-leaf miniatures. I have discussed this above in conjunction with a new way of conceptualizing book production that divided labor physically, resulting in manuscripts that were pieced together in such a way that the seams often showed quite clearly. After the 1390s many miniatures, which were made primarily for books of hours, were produced separately from the textual components of the manuscript. A stationer or book owner could slip such full-page miniatures into the book so that they prefaced major incipits, so long as each new text began on a fresh recto with an enlarged initial. Placed as a verso the image could thereby mark the beginning of key text passages. As long as books were constructed according to the modular method, then new texts automatically started at the beginning of a fresh quire on the recto side. And a stationer could simply add an image to the front of the quire.

Leaves added to manuscripts reveal owners’ strong desires, even if that desire was simply to leave a mark. Physical alterations made the manuscript more attractive, more useful, more modern, and more personal. Owners could add single leaves or multiple quires. At their most extreme, the manipulations could transform the type of manuscript altogether. Earlier I discussed how the shift from psalter to book of hours accompanied a shift in production methods. In at least one case, the shift from psalter to book of hours appears within a single book over time: an owner of a thirteenth-century psalter added multiple quires to the manuscript in the second quarter of the fifteenth century. Specifically, he or she added quires containing the Hours of the Virgin and other prayers so that the new texts fell between the calendar and the psalter. This person in effect upgraded the manuscript, transforming a psalter into a psalter-hours. Later in the fifteenth century, another owner added even more quires to the end of the end of the book. These contain the Hours of the Holy Spirit, the Hours of the Cross, and other prayers.[1] This owner, in effect, continued the book’s slow metamorphosis from psalter to book of hours. One wonders whether this later fifteenth-century owner took a cue from the earlier additions and saw that the book could be taken apart, emended, and sutured together again to form an improved, more modern book. Every emendation yielded not only additional content, but also communicated the very idea that structural additions were possible if one were willing to rebind the volume.


Until the early twentieth century, bookbinders were common in Western European cities. During the printing age, indeed until recently, many books were sold in soft paper covers that merely held them together until they could be properly bound. That way, an owner could bind them in his house style and they would match the other volumes on the shelves. Likewise, medieval book binders did a swift trade binding and rebinding manuscripts.

Having handled over a thousand medieval manuscripts over the last twenty years and having seen bindings in all states of repair, I have come to some conclusions about them. Repeatedly opening and closing a book with a leather binding eventually weakens the leather. When leather is bent and unbent hundreds of times, the fibers in the outer, most stretched layers begin to fray. When they break, then the hinge, as it were, grows thin, and the remaining leather grows weaker even more quickly especially at the point of greatest wear. When the leather breaks all the way through, the binding can no longer protect the book block, because the unsecured covers slide and pivot, causing friction. One of the functions of a clasped binding is to serve as a book press, to keep the parchment folios from snapping back into the shape of a calf.


[LEFT]: Fig. 95 Folio from a prayerbook that has been heavily worn and trimmed. Tilburg, Universiteitsbibliotheek, Ms. 11 (formerly TFK 10), fol. 48r. Image © Tilburg Universiteitsbibliotheek
[RIGHT]: Fig. 96 Binding with metal loops for suspending the book, early sixteenth century. Tilburg, Universiteitsbibliotheek, Ms. 11 (formerly TFK 10). Image © Tilburg Universiteitsbibliotheek

I contend that, even in the Middle Ages, a binding under intense use might only last for the duration of a single owner, and that subsequent owners would often rebind manuscripts and incorporate new parts into them. I have therefore seen many heavily used fifteenth-century manuscripts in early sixteenth-century bindings. Many surviving medieval bindings are likely therefore not their true original bindings. In medieval manuscript descriptions, what are often called “contemporary” bindings (i.e., contemporary with the book block) may in fact be their second or third bindings. If the book looks worn or has been trimmed, but the binding is medieval, then the binding probably dates from the period immediately after the manuscript was heavily used. For example, a late fifteenth-century prayerbook (Tilburg, UB, Ms. 11) was so vigorously used by its early owners that the folios are now soiled and damaged (fig. 95). Someone rebound it in the late fifteenth or early sixteenth century, probably because the binding was damaged from heavy use and the book was falling apart. Trimming the pages—which usually occurred with books that were rebound—advertently or inadvertently excised much of the dirt, but plenty of dirt and other signs of wear remain. These signs reveal the motivation for the early rebinding.

Even though one would be tempted to date it from the same general period as the book to which it belongs, the medieval binding that the manuscript is now in is therefore not its original one (fig. 96). Rings attached to the bottom of the upper and lower covers indicate that the owner carried the book on a rope or chain in order to keep it close at hand when traveling. All of these signs are indicators that the early owner(s) spent a great amount of time reading and handling this book. Those who handled their books vigorously were also likely to make structural changes to them.

Updates and additions made by votaries to their prayerbooks at the end of the fifteenth century can reveal how they responded to new devotions and indulgences. When owners added texts or images to their manuscripts, they did so because they strongly desired those texts and images and actively selected them. Whereas an owner might purchase a book of hours off the shelf or inherit it from a deceased family member, thereby acquiring a manuscript with a particular set of texts over which he had little control, the added texts represent volitional acts. Sometimes the measures that owners took to update their manuscripts reveal that they were so eager to include certain texts that they were willing to adjust the structure of their books in order to accommodate them. These choices often embraced texts that had come into circulation only after the manuscript had been completed. In what follows, I consider manuscripts whose added images and/or texts reveal the voracious appetites of late medieval believers for the newest, latest, and most fashionable prayers.

Sometimes these changes came at the cost of entirely restructuring their prayerbooks by having them augmented and rebound; and other times the new essential prayers were squeezed into available space, such as on extra ruled lines at the end of quires, on the backs of the blank inserted miniatures, or on the flyleaves at the beginning or end of the book. Sometimes the one necessitated the other. Around 1500 someone in South Holland acquired a book of hours, made thirty years earlier with exquisite non-figurative painted decoration by the Master of Gijsbrecht van Brederode, and summarily tore the manuscript apart (HKB, Ms. BPH 151, hereafter: BPH 151). The owner then interpolated dozens of new images (including the Veronica, the Mass of St. Gregory, and the Last Judgment with the saved escorted to heaven) and several quires with prayers promising indulgences, and then bound the old parts together with the new to make a manuscript containing the most fashionable, colorful, and indulgence-rich prayers, but one that was still an heirloom. (This manuscript will be discussed further in Part IV below.)

Such augmentations were not unusual: medieval manuscripts had a long shelf life and often changed hands many times. Made of durable parchment—supple as paper but tough as leather—they could easily serve multiple owners and users over a period of decades or even centuries. Laypeople often handed their books down the generations or sold them. Updates people made to a family heirloom often reveal the new fashions in prayer culture, and along with that, their culturally constructed hopes and fears. This study treats prayerbooks made in the century before the Reformation; although it uses the methodology of codicology and stratigraphy to study books closely, it is really about people and what they revealed about themselves through their manipulations. A wealth of evidence shows that at the end of the fifteenth century, purgatory began to weigh heavily on people’s minds—and therefore on their prayerbooks. Indulgences will feature in the discussion in the context of adding images, texts and entire quires to prayerbooks.

In the late Middle Ages, a layperson who owned a single book was likely to own a prayerbook; these far outnumbered Bibles or secular manuscripts. Rather than read from cover-to-cover, votaries would dip into the multiple texts these books contained. An individual owner’s needs might change over the lifetime, and the book was flexible enough to allow for the insertion of new images and texts, especially when its owners married, bore children, or died, necessitating a change in ownership. Sometimes the measures that owners took to update their manuscripts revealed that they were even willing to adjust the structure of their books. These choices often embraced texts that had come into circulation only after the manuscript had been completed. These changes and additions precisely index those elements they desired most.

Certain Netherlandish studios specialized in updating older manuscripts. A group of artists known in modern scholarship as the Masters of the Dark Eyes, for example, worked closely with scribes to take older books of hours, fill in blank folios with new prayers, and to add single folios as well as entire quires to bring manuscripts up to the standards of an image- and indulgence-hungry public in the decades flanking 1500. While the Masters of the Dark Eyes probably worked in secular, urban ateliers, other ateliers within convents similarly added new, desired components to existing prayerbooks. These convents included that of St. Ursula of Delft (Franciscan tertiary women), and that of St. Agnes, also in Delft (Augustinian canonesses). The current study will consider both isolated cases of manuscript meddling, as well as the systematic approach that these studios applied to update and personalize books.

With these forces at play, the only books that escaped the Middle Ages without some additions were those that were unused, for example, the Hours of Catherine of Cleves, which looks as if it were barely touched.[2] One wonders whether the book was even designed to be used, or whether ordering and paying for such a richly decorated book of prayers counted itself as a good deed, for which actually reading the book was not required.

What is clear is that, while expensive bespoke manuscripts continued to be made well into the sixteenth century, newer, cheaper ways of making the book were being explored, and these methods involved making components and then building a book from them. Assembling books with an additive method had a major impact on the mind-set of book makers and users, who exploited the possibilities of modules by treating them as opportunities to add new bits to old books. But the “modular method” also has other rather unexpected consequences, which will be important for both simple augmentations (not requiring rebinding) as well as more complex augmentations (requiring rebinding). Considering this modular method therefore provides the backdrop for new attitudes toward the book-in-flux.

Adding Leaves Bearing Texts


[LEFT]: Fig. 97 Opening with the beginning of the Hours of All Saints (on the right), and a prayer to one’s personal angel copied on a single, added leaf (on the left). Cambridge, Trinity College, Ms. B.1.46, fol. 110v-111r. Image © Trinity College Cambridge
[RIGHT]: Fig. 98 Opening revealing the stub from an added text leaf. Cambridge, Trinity College, Ms. B.1.46, fol. 105v-106r. Image © Trinity College Cambridge

A book of hours made for and by the sisters at the St. Ursula convent in Delft, introduced above, bears a single added leaf (fol. 110), which is inscribed with a prayer to the sister’s personal angel and a small image depicting an angel watching a Franciscan sister’s back (Cambridge, TC, Ms. B.1.46; fig. 97). This leaf was inserted at the end of one quire and the beginning of the next so that it faces the Hours of All Saints. One can see that it is an added leaf, because the stub sticks out from the opening eight folios earlier (fig. 98). At first glance, the script of the added leaf (fol. 110) closely resembles that in the rest of the book. I suspect that all of the women in this convent learned a “corporate script.” Their ideal was to make their script indistinguishable from that of their sisters. In that way, the scribe-nuns could all work collectively on the same book projects, and their individual identities would be minimized.

A prayer to one’s personal angel was not a common prayer. It did not fit neatly into any of the existing categories of standard texts for the book of hours. The owner may have added the additional folio at this location in the book in order to forge a connection between her personal angel and “All Saints,” both entities which may be considered forms of protection. I speculate that the prayer to one’s personal angel may have circulated in the form of single sheets, although I know of no examples that survive; however, I can imagine that someone who could not afford an entire prayerbook might be able to buy the protection that a prayer to a personal angel afforded.

Armed with the skills of both scribes and illuminators, the convent of St. Agnes in Delft also produced manuscripts. A full analysis of the work of this convent awaits. It is highly likely that the “Master of the Fagel Missal” was a woman, an inmate at the convent. She was active in 1459–60, the dates given within the Fagel Missal, and she also worked on some other books that the convent created.

This missal, which shows images of St. Augustine and St. Agnes, the convent’s patrons, must have been made for their own chapel. They apparently used it for several decades. At some point in the early sixteenth century, the sisters needed another image for the book, for they wanted to celebrate the feast of St. Anne with more panache.


[LEFT]: Fig. 99 Single leaf with prayers for the feast of St. Anne, with a historiated initial painted by the Masters of the Dark Eyes (South Holland, ca. 1500), inserted into the Fagel missal (Delft, 1459–1460). Dublin, Trinity College, Ms. 81, fol. 186r. Reproduced with kind permission of the Board of Trinity College Dublin. © Trinity College Library Dublin, all rights reserved.
[RIGHT]: Fig. 100 Incipit of the Sanctoral, with prayers for the feast of St. Andrew, with a historiated initial painted by the Master of the Fagel Missal (Delft, 1459–1460). Dublin, Trinity College, Ms. 81, fol. 187r. Reproduced with kind permission of the Board of Trinity College Dublin. © Trinity College Library Dublin, all rights reserved.

This saint had sharply risen in popularity at the end of the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, and furthermore, Anne was the patroness of the other Augustinian female convent within Delft, with which the Agnes convent had a necessary relationship. However, the “Master of the Fagel Missal” must have died by that point, for the sisters commissioned the Masters of the Dark Eyes to produce a folio with the Mass to St. Anne and an accompanying column-wide miniature (Dublin, TC, Ms. 81; fig. 99). They were then able to fit this new leaf into their book as fol. 186, just before the Sanctoral, which begins, as usual, with St. Andrew (fig. 100). Because the Sanctoral begins on a new quire, the binder was able to easily slip the new leaf before the beginning of the quire.

A comparison between the St. Anne page and the St. Andrew page reveals that the Masters of the Dark Eyes attempted to maintain the same page layout as the original part of the book, but they did not attempt to copy the style of the Fagel “master” or to copy the borders. (Whereas the Fagel Master/Mistress always frames the heads of figures from sacred history in a burnished gold halo, and fills space with labor-intensive patterning, the Masters of the Dark Eyes lack these features and create less stiff figures.) The work of the Masters of the Dark Eyes appears in many manuscripts, especially those made in South Holland. These masters worked with scribes to produce entire books of hours and prayerbooks, and they also supplied single leaves to fit into existing manuscripts, such as the leaf they created for the Fagel Missal.


[LEFT]: Fig. 101 Added folio (inserted at the break between two quires), bearing a rubric relevant to the following prayer. Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Ms. Néerl. 111, fol. 12v-13r. Image © Author
[RIGHT]: Fig. 102 Calendar with a highly abbreviated Cisiojanus. Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Ms. Néerl. 111, fol. 3r. Image © Author

New prayers, such as the Mass of St. Anne, may have circulated on small single sheets. These could be copied into prayerbooks, or pasted in (in the case of the Gouda Missal, examined above), or incorporated into the binding. A Netherlandish prayerbook now in Paris has a prayer added on a separate folio, which has been later incorporated into the manuscript immediately after the calendar (Paris, BnF, Ms. Néerl. 111; fig. 101). This prayerbook was made in the mid-fifteenth century in the eastern part of the Northern Netherlands, to judge by the script and penwork decoration, the dialect and the page layout.[3] Measuring only 90×70 mm, with a text block measuring only 54×41 mm, the manuscript is quite small, and is the epitome of an object made for private devotion—a private devotion that could be further personalized. Some of the folios have been cut out—presumably the ones with the most elaborate decoration. Those that remain reveal that a group of people, probably sisters in a convent near the Dutch-German border, collectively made a manuscript out of production units, which they adjusted on the fly. Some of the adjustments yielded blank “inviting” parchment, to which indulgences and images were added; these were also added on single leaves.

The manuscript has been made in production units that correspond with the quires. A computational circle and a calendar with a cisiojanus comprise the first quire (Paris, BnF, Ms. Néerl. 111, fol. 1–12).[4] But the manuscript is tiny, and there was not enough room to fill in the entire calendar, so only the cisiojanus letters are present. Dutch saints do not match the Latin cisiojanus very well. February’s folio reveals how frustrated the owner was (fol. 3r; fig. 102). In an attempt to make the abbreviations more intelligible, someone has tried with a tiny pen to go back and fill them in, but he or she has only done this sporadically. That same folio also reveals the extent to which the owner treated the book as a surface on which to make emendations and to record new thoughts.


[LEFT]: Fig. 103 Opening revealing the blank verso of an added folio (inserted at the break between two quires), and a prayer that’s part of the original campaign of work. Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Ms. Néerl. 111, fol. 13v-14r. Image © Author
[CENTER]: Fig. 104 Opening revealing the blank recto of an added folio (inserted at the break between two quires), and the end of a prayer that is part of the original campaign of work. Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Ms. Néerl. 111, fol. 22v-23r. Image © Author
[RIGHT]: Fig. 105 Opening revealing an added folio (inserted at the break between two quires), with a textual frame circumscribing a round object (now missing); and the beginning of a prayer that’s part of the original campaign of work. Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Ms. Néerl. 111, fol. 23v-24r. Image © Author

Further aspects of the working methods are revealed by the second quire (Paris, BnF, Ms. Néerl. 111, 13r-22v). This quire contains a prayer to body parts of Christ, attributed to Bernard. It begins on fol. 14r with a decorated, three-line initial (fig. 103) and finishes on fol. 22v, with cramped letters as the scribe tried to squeeze the prayer into the available space (fig. 104). A quire comprises ten bifolia, which is two more than the usual eight. I suspect that what happened is that the scribe realized as she was nearing the end of the eight-folio quire that she could not fit the whole prayer in. She therefore added another bifolium, wrapping it around the outside of the packet. This, however, made a blank sheet at the beginning (fol. 13). Later someone added a text to that inviting parchment, in the form of a rubric on fol. 13r. A different scribe, working slightly later, inscribed that rubric (in black ink). The scribe therefore took the opportunity to add an indulgence to the beginning of the prayer, because the added parchment had inadvertently made space for it.

On fol. 13r the indulgence that the scribe opportunistically added reads:

rub: One reads about St. Bernard, who wrote this following prayer, that one time he was reading it before a cross [and he was] observed by a holy person who stood there for hours. That image loosened itself from the cross and sweetly embraced St. Bernard. It is written that this has been confirmed by the See of Rome, and that anyone who reads [it] will earn 2370 years and 70 days of indulgence, as one can see.

rub: Men leest van S Bernaert die dit gebet dat hier na volghet gemaect heeft dat tot eenre tijt doe hijt voer dat crucs las gesien uut van enen heilighen mensche die van ure stont dattet beelt hem selven vanden cruce loste. Ende sce baernaert suetelic omhelsede. Ende men vijntet ghescreven dattet gheconfirmeert is vanden stoel van Roemen ende die ghene diet lasen verdienen ijm iaer iijc iaer lxx iaer ende lxx daghen oflaets alsmen seit. [Paris, BnF, Ms. Néerl. 111, fol. 13r]

The prayer to the body parts, attributed to Bernard, therefore begins on fol. 14r, with fol. 13v blank. A later scribe took the opportunity presented by the resulting blank sheet at the beginning of the quire to add an introduction to the prayer that made it much more lucrative in the spiritual economy. Thus, what the owner has done is to add a frame to the prayer, which gives the prayer added relevance and benefit. It also presents a model for prayer, in the form of St. Bernard, who was able to make the image come alive by the power of his belief.

A similar situation may have ensued with the quire beginning with fol. 23r. On fol. 24r the first prayer begins (Néerl. 111; fig. 105), but the scribe realized that she needed more writing space, and therefore added an extra bifolium to the end of the quire. This created a blank leaf (fol. 23), which another scribe then filled with a most unusual design on the verso side, so that it faces the beginning of the new prayer. Comparing the script and decoration with the rest of the prayer texts, one can see that the sheet was made in a separate campaign and only added later. A roundel (approximately 31mm diameter, possibly accommodating a pasted-on engraving) was once affixed to the verso side but it has now been lifted. It may have depicted the face of Christ, as this is the prayer on the facing folio. A frame of words spirals around the image. The page has buckled, probably because someone steamed off the print, making the text difficult to make out: “rou ghelijc is minen rou. In hem en was gheen gedaen…” What is clear is that the added material has given the scribe license to experiment. What had been a tiny manuscript, one so cramped that the calendar had to be abbreviated beyond usability, became, with the addition of these two bits of material, a sufficient space for the scribes to take some chances.

Fig. 106 Folio added in the middle of the Hours of the Cross. The Hague, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Ms. 133 D 1, fol. 99v-100r. Image © Koninklijke Bibliotheek—the National Library of The Netherlands

When book owners added material, they did not always consider where it went; they were simply desperate to get it in somewhere. A book of hours written in Dutch has such an added folio (HKB, Ms. 133 D 1, fol. 100; fig. 106) in the middle of the Hours of the Cross (fol. 89–109). It has a calendar with St. Jeroen in red, which suggests that it was made in the diocese of Utrecht; and the decoration around the miniatures is “blue acanthus,” typical of Leiden. Whereas the rest of the book is in the vernacular, the added fol. 100 contains a prayer in Latin. The prayer is dedicated to St. Margaret. Was the owner’s name Margaret? A peculiar floral border decoration adorns the sheet, which did not originate in South Holland, but rather in the Southern Netherlands, perhaps in Ghent or Burges. Were single-folio prayers sold or made for the purpose of personalizing manuscripts with people’s name saints? What is clear is that the owner had to take the book apart in order to bind this sheet into it, or have this done at cost and effort. It was clearly important to the owner. More often, though, owners added sheets to incorporate more images.

Adding Leaves Bearing Images

Roger Wieck writes that one of the reasons that books of hours exist was to provide a vehicle for images, such that very few books of hours are unillustrated.[5] I would like to qualify this: few books of hours exist in American collections that are unillustrated. Collectors in the nineteenth century bought manuscripts because they had images. Morgan, Walters, and the other great collectors passed over manuscripts that failed to dazzle them with gold and colors. European collections, on the other hand, are full of unillustrated books of hours. Perusing these, one has the sense that owning a book of hours was a great social aspiration for many medieval believers, but that the book itself might grow in stages, and the owner only add images at a later stage when he or she could afford them. If so, then European collections—especially municipal and university libraries—contain many testaments to early deaths and unrealized goals.

Just as some manuscripts were originally produced without images and gained them only later, if ever, a production developed for images without books, which similarly met up with their hosts later. This section is about images painted on single leaves that would be appropriate for insertion into private devotional books, including books of hours, but also prayerbooks with other texts besides the offices to be recited at the canonical hours. Above, in my discussion of a Southern Netherlandish manuscript for export to England (Cambridge, UL, Ms. Ff.6.8), I noted that the quires with suffrages comprise single-leaf images interleaved with single-leaf text pages. The manuscript was simply constructed that way. It is not a difficult leap to imagine that loose leaves—bearing images or texts—which were then in widespread circulation, could end up in other kinds of books. Because there is so often a disjoint between the text part of the manuscript and the image part, it can be very difficult to determine whether a leaf was original or added, or whether a book was embellished by the first, second, or subsequent owner. Fifteenth-century books of hours and prayerbooks often form a strange hybrid, partly mass-produced, partly bespoke.

Images for the Most Common Office

Many books of hours were sold bare with the expectation that the owner could add images later. As I have shown above, Northern and Southern Netherlandish book makers constructed their wares in order that textual incipits would begin on a fresh recto, so that a full-page miniature could easily be slotted in to face it. Images that accompany the major texts of the book of hours are the most common type of added leaves: the Annunciation (for the Hours of the Virgin), the Crucifixion (for the Hours of the Cross); Christ in Judgment (for the Seven Penitential Psalms); and the Mass for the Dead (for the Vigil for the Dead).[6] Image makers did a swift trade in these subjects. They also supplied saints on single leaves, such as those discussed earlier in Cambridge, UL, Ms. Ff.6.8. Artists who supplied these kinds of images, destined for books of hours made separately, included the Masters of the Pink Canopies, the Moerdrecht Masters, the Masters of the Gold Scrolls, and in the North, the Masters of the Suffrages and the Masters of the Dark Eyes. All of these artists have received thorough studies.[7] As one can see from this list, these artists often worked in groups, where the work of individual artists fades into a singular style. These artists must have aspired to a corporate style or brand in order to make interchangeable parts that could be slotted into off-the-shelf books. Although their work was formulaic, their wares made plain manuscripts somewhat richer and more “personalized.”

Fig. 107 Christ Carrying the Cross, full-page miniature attributed to the Moerdrecht Masters, inserted into a book of hours. Tilburg, Universiteitsbibliotheek, Ms. KHS 12, fol. 39v-40r. Image © Tilburg Universiteitsbibliotheek

The Masters of Otto van Moerdrecht specialized in creating single-leaf miniatures to be inserted into books of hours. One such manuscript containing their added miniatures is Tilburg, UB, KHS 12 (fig. 107). It is a book of hours in Dutch, made in South Holland, and is dated 1434.[8] Fifteenth-century wooden boards covered in blind stamped brown leather still bind the manuscript. This binding is probably contemporary with the addition of the full-page miniatures, which were made by the Masters of Otto van Moerdrecht in the 1430s or 1440s. An early owner of the book therefore must have added them. In fact, the manuscript contains a fifteenth-century note of ownership of “Wendelmoed Iacobs dochter, Thomas Iacobsz. wijf, wonende inden Eynghel” (Wendelmoed the daughter of Jacob and the wife of Thomas Iacobsz, who lives in Eynghel [a town near Lisse]). It may have been she who added the miniatures.[9] This provides yet another example of my general observation that people who make one kind of addition (such as adding images) are likely to add several (such as adding inscriptions).

With features partway between “radishes” and “scallop,” the penwork decoration is executed in a style that can be associated with Delft.[10] These ornaments contrast sharply, however, with the painted borders that the Moerdrecht masters supplied with the miniatures, so the resulting openings do not present a visually unified whole; one can clearly see the aesthetic seam where the new miniature meets the old text leaf. This book was not planned from the beginning to have miniatures, as the initials for the individual hours appear part-way down the page; according to the hierarchy of decoration, a full-page miniature should accompany an initial at the top of the page. As they stand, the images interrupt the text. For this reason the owner has had to violate the hierarchy, because there was no way to observe it given the manuscript as it stood, with its initials half-way down the page that didn’t “match” the miniature. Technically, a full-page miniature should face a text page with the largest initial, situated at the upper left corner of the right-hand page. The owner could not adjust the existing decoration, as the five-line initial G was already fixed on the page. Clearly, she was not satisfied with the moderate decoration of her book as received. The easiest way to rectify this was to add full-page miniatures, even if they disrupted the hierarchy. Adding value, color, and images were clearly more important to her than abiding by the rules of page layout. A vulgarian, she privileged decoration over design principles.

Images for Indulgences

The second most common type of added leaf is that which helps the owner to earn indulgences, which sometimes required the presence of an image. The Mass of St. Gregory was frequently added to late medieval prayerbooks. A shift occurred in prayerbooks around the 1460s; before this time books of hours largely excluded the image of St. Gregory and its accompanying prayer. After this time, and in the last quarter of the fifteenth century, book owners demanded this prayer. I suspect that the exemplars copyists used often did not contain it, so that even manuscripts made in the latter part of the century lacked this desired text, and it was added later as an afterthought in a separate operation. Clearly, the prayer, with its enormous indulgence, offered solace to votaries who feared the fiery afterlife. The prayer and its image created a sudden and thorough demand.

The subject of this suddenly popular image depicts the origin of an indulgence called the Verses of St. Gregory. A legend motivated the prayer: Gregory the Great was performing Mass in the presence of an audience. At the moment when he elevated the host, that host miraculously turned into the Body of Christ, so that it was visible to those present. A micro-mosaic depicting Christ as Man of Sorrows and enshrined in the church of Sta Croce in Gerusalemme was said to have represented the vision that Gregory, and his audience, saw. In light of this experience, Gregory was said to have issued a prayer to the Passion—the Five Verses of St. Gregory—beginning Adoro te in cruce pendentem—and he attached a significant indulgence to anyone repeating the prayer in the presence of the image. Significantly, the indulgence was also valid if the reader performed it in front of a copy of the image. This is the same poem mentioned above that came in so many versions, with five, seven, nine or eleven verses: it was not only extremely popular, but it was ever-expanding (at least until the anti-indulgence climate of the Protestant Reformation marked its end).

Many manuscript owners added an image of the Mass of St. Gregory to their prayerbooks. The owner of HKB, Ms. 76 G 16, for example, added such an image to preface the Seven Verses of St. Gregory. All of the full-page miniatures and border decoration in this manuscript were executed by the Masters of the Dark Eyes, a group of illuminators who painted richly decorated prayerbooks, largely in South Holland from ca. 1480–1515. (I discuss them in some detail below in Part IV.) Their output was very large, which suggests that several painters were working together to create books in a house style, which was marked by thickly painted margins, a large stable of figurative images (some of which derived from prints), and a large amount of shell gold. None of the names of these painters has come down to us. They were apparently quite popular with members of the nouveaux riches. Some of them even went to England, where they became favorites of the nobility.[11] What interests me in the present context is the service they offered to book owners to update their older or plainer manuscripts.

These painters created the Mass of St. Gregory in a separate campaign of work from the rest of the miniatures, and clearly this image was not planned from the outset (HKB, Ms. 76 G 16; fig. 108).[12] This is apparent because the accompanying prayer, the Adoro te, does not begin on a fresh recto, does not begin with an 11-line initial, and its text block lacks the gold border found around texts elsewhere in the codex that have an accompanying full-page image. The normal situation demonstrating the proper hierarchy of decoration appears for example at the opening for the Seven Penitential Psalms in the same manuscript, where the borders on the left and right sides of the opening match, and the text begins with a large decorated initial at the top of the folio (fig. 109).[13] In other words the opening with the Adoro te breaks the rules of the hierarchy of decoration. It is therefore clear that the full-page miniature was conceived after the Adoro te had already been inscribed and decorated. Perhaps the owner wanted an image in order to fulfill the demand of the accompanying rubric that the votary read in front of the arma Christi in order to earn 46,012 years’ and 24 days’ indulgence. While the Masters of the Dark Eyes would have supplied full-page miniatures for the major texts that constitute a book of hours (the Annunciation before the Hours of the Virgin, and the Last Judgment before the Seven Penitential Psalms, for example), perhaps the Mass of St. Gregory before the Adoro te was optional. If so, then perhaps the buyer chose to have the manuscript upgraded at the studio before taking it home.


Fig. 111 The Mass of St. Gregory, facing the incipit of the Verses of St. Gregory. The Hague, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Ms. 133 E 22, fol. 186v-187r. Image © Koninklijke Bibliotheek—the National Library of The Netherlands

People were so anxious to get an image of the Mass of St. Gregory into their books that they would insert even an incomplete one (Brussels, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Ms. IV 410, fig. 110). This image is difficult to localize, because its features have been painted with a broad brush, as it were; the manuscript into which it has been inserted (Brussels, KB, IV 410) is a book of hours in Dutch that contains penwork typical of Brethren of the Common Life active in Den Bosch in the first quarter of the sixteenth century.[14] The image that the owner added to this book requires a leap of imagination to complete. Only a negative silhouette defines the ghostly image of Christ looming on the altar. On the stark back wall, the torturers lack any facial features, while the ecclesiastical furnishings appear as abstract solids. At first I wondered whether there were originally prints pasted to these voids, which had later been removed. Although this possibility cannot be ruled out, there is no glue residue on the void silhouettes. Even if there had been silhouetted prints pasted onto the parchment, it would not explain why the shapes throughout the sheet are underdeveloped (one of the faces has been painted with body color, and the altar has not been painted all). I must conclude that the owner preferred to have this strange and incomplete image, which was better than none, so strong was his desire to complete the indulgence with the relevant image.

A book of hours in Dutch introduced above (HKB, Ms. 133 E 22) with a French initial added to its back cover also has a single leaf miniature added near the end of the manuscript (fol. 186). It precedes a quire of four leaves, which form part of the original material of the book, but were inscribed by a different hand (fol. 187–190; fig. 111). One can see that they are part of the original parchment of the rest of the book, as they are similarly ruled for 20 lines, with double horizontal and vertical bounding lines. They were surplus in the original production and therefore left blank. I suspect that when the owner acquired it, he or she took the opportunity to commission a scribe to write a relevant prayer to accompany it: the Seven Verses of St. Gregory (fol. 187r/v). This prayer is inscribed in a different (and worse) hand from the rest of the manuscript. The unused parchment that came with the book was a powerful vacuum that the owner had to fill. He filled it with an indulgenced text, and while he was at it, added a relevant image—the Mass of St. Gregory—to activate the new prayer.

The accompanying rubric only comes at the end of the prayer:

rub: Pope Sixtus IV wrote the fourth and fifth verses of the seven little prayers that appear above, and with that he doubled all the indulgences previously given, so that the sum of the indulgences totaled 46,012 years and 40 days.

rub: Sixtus paus de vierde heft dit vierde ende vijfte gebet van desen seven voirscreven gebedekijns gemaect. Ende daer mede heft hi alle die oflaten hijf voir gegeven gedubbelliert. Alsoe dat die somme der oflaten maect tesamen xlvi dusent iaer xij iaer ende xl dagen. [HKB, Ms. 133 E 22, fol. 187v]

The script and decoration of this indulgence differ from that found in the rest of the manuscript. One can compare it, for example, to the incipit of the Vigil for the Dead, which is one of the core texts from the original part of the manuscript (fol. 102r; fig. 112).[15] Comparing the two reveals that the Adoro te clearly comes from a different campaign of work. Whereas the original parts of this manuscript were written in a much more refined and steady textualis, the added parts were inscribed in a much less elegant textualis. Differences in decoration also confirm their separate genesis. The incipit of the Vigil for the Dead has received painted and penwork decoration, which is lacking in the borders around the Adoro te. The full-page miniature depicting the Mass of St. Gregory likewise stems from a different campaign of work from the miniatures in the rest of the codex, such as the miniature depicting souls in the bosom of Abraham. Whereas five full-page miniatures in the original part of the manuscript were made in Utrecht, the Mass of St. Gregory added near the end, however, was made elsewhere, possibly in the Southern Netherlands. The image testifies to the international trade in the tools of salvation.

The initial of the added Adoro te has not been filled in, as this would have required that the freshly-inscribed quire be sent to a painter. So eager was the owner to have this prayer that he skipped the final step and simply imagined the opening letter every time he read the prayer. As often happens with added texts, the initials were never filled in, and the entire production looks half-baked. While the book is incomplete without the Mass of St. Gregory and its prayer, the prayer is also incomplete because the initials have not been painted. The added material could be as partial as the original book—completion is overall less important than the immediate need for a book, for something new in the book, for a particular prayer. Coming only at the end of the prayer (fol. 187v), the rubric reveals one of the motivations for adding the quire: to include a prayer that offered more than 46,000 years’ indulgence. It is bound in sixteenth-century brown leather, blind stamped.


[LEFT]: Fig. 113 Mass of St. Gregory, full-page miniature inserted in a prayerbook. Copenhagen, Royal Library, Ms. Thott. 129 octavo, fol. 49v. © Royal Library Copenhagen
[CENTER]: Fig. 114 Opening in a book of hours, with a full-page miniature of the Mass of St. Gregory inserted before the Verses of St. Gregory. ’s-Heerenberg, The Netherlands, Collection Dr. J. H. van Heek, Huis Bergh Foundation, Ms. 18, fol. 153v-154r. Image © The Huis Bergh Foundation
[RIGHT]: Fig. 115 Opening in a book of hours, with a full-page miniature of the Virgin in Sole inserted before the Hours of the Virgin. ’s-Heerenberg, The Netherlands, Collection Dr. J. H. van Heek, Huis Bergh Foundation, Ms. 18, fol. 17v-18r. Image © The Huis Bergh Foundation

Users of a prayerbook from South Holland added only one full-page image to the prayerbook: the Mass of St. Gregory (Copenhagen, Royal Library, Thott 129 octavo; fig. 113). This manuscript has the look and feel of a book of hours but does not actually contain any offices; instead, it is a prayerbook, with a plethora of indulgenced texts. The manuscript has a slightly spikey script, of a variety one associates with Leiden, but it has marginal decoration consisting of half-length figures surrounded by blue text scrolls of a variety one associates with Delft. In fact, the manuscript may have been made for (or by) the Canonesses Regular of Saints Catharine and Barbara in Noordwijk, given the following features: St. Jeroen, the patron of Noordwijk is prominently featured; Saints Catherine and Barbara are first among the virgins in the litany; one of the statements at the end of the Vigil is a petition to “giving us alms,” which would make sense only to those who asked for alms (chiefly those living in religious compounds); and finally the manuscript contains the Hundred Articles by Henry Suso (Seuse), a text closely associated with female religious (I know of only one copy of this text in a manuscript owned by a layperson). No other manuscripts have been associated with this convent, so it is impossible to compare Thott 129, 8° with other manuscripts attributed to the same monastery. Even so it is possible to draw a basic conclusion from this example: People in convents were not above the indulgence culture of the fifteenth century, but instead were vigorous patrons of manuscripts with indulgences and images that aided their acquisition.

A Mass of St. Gregory (fig. 114) and the Virgin in Sole (fig. 115), that is, the two most important indulgenced images, are the only miniatures that were added to ’s Heerenberg, HB, Ms. 18.[16] The Mass of St. Gregory even shows souls being rescued from the fires of Purgatory in the foreground, thereby emphasizing the image’s role as a tool for springing souls from the flames. While not enough manuscripts survive to be able to state confidently that the Mass of St. Gregory and the Virgin in Sole were the most frequently represented images toward the end of the fifteenth century, it can be stated confidently that sometimes they are the only images in a given devotional object or book. Votaries strongly desired to update their manuscripts in order to possess the most spiritually lucrative prayers. I suspect that books of hours were often made by copying earlier models made at a time before the indulgence craze. It is possible that the book makers peddled new texts and images to a market that was already flooded with books of hours. Such images also went viral as it were, and consumers wanted them as quickly as copyists and illuminators could supply them.

Portraits and Personalizing Details

Fig. 116 Opening in a book of hours, Southern Netherland or Northern France, ca. 1500, with a full-page image depicting a man being presented by John the Baptist, opposite the Crucifixion. Stockholm, National Library of Sweden, MS, A 233, fol. 56v-57r. Image © National Library of Sweden

Personalizing a book of hours proved another motivation for seeking extra single-leaf images that could be incorporated into that book. For example, a book of hours from Northern France or the Southern Netherlands had an early owner named John, possibly Jan de Trompes, who held several public functions in Bruges from 1498 to 1512.

Fig. 117 Woman in the garb of an Augustinian canoness (Lijsbett van Steengracht?) in prayer before the Virgin and Child, full-page miniature inserted in a prayerbook. Brussels, Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België, Ms. II 2348, fol. 130v-131r. Image © Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België, all rights reserved.

The owner had several images of himself added to the book of hours, including a single leaf that he placed opposite a full-page Crucifixion, so that it appears as a devotional diptych in the manuscript (Stockholm, Royal Library, Ms. A.233; fig. 116).[17] He has himself represented as a pilgrim, with the relevant badge visible on his arm. Clearly, this and the other added leaves, which similarly show the male sitter with his name saint at a number of shrines around the Holy Land, was designed to reflect his personal religious accomplishments as they developed through his life. Overall, the interest in adding pages to manuscripts in order to personalize them crossed over social class and religious/secular boundaries: the urge was widespread among those who owned such books. Some owners, however—namely, wealthy patrons and the religious—had access to a wider range and quality of materials for this project than the more ordinary book owner.

Lijsbett van Steengracht, a sister at Onze-Lieve-Vrouwgasthuis, a hospital in Geraardsbergen, chose to have her own likeness painted in a full-page miniature, and she inserted the leaf in her prayerbook to preface the rosary (BKB, Ms. II 2348; fig. 117). In the miniature the patron kneels with her book at the feet of a radiant Virgin and Child. The accompanying text begins with the Ave Maria in Latin, a refrain Lijsbett will repeat 50 times before she closes her book and folds the mirage of the Virgin away.

An easy way to accomplish this was to add a sheet at the beginning of the manuscript with one’s coat of arms. The owner of a book of hours from Utrecht did just that (HKB, Ms. 133 E 17, fol. 1v; fig. 118).[18] While the manuscript was copied and decorated in South Holland around 1440–1460, the later owner near the end of the fifteenth century asserted his presence by adding a folio at the beginning of the book bearing a coat of arms, with two crossed swords on an arresting red background. The simplicity of the geometric design at the center appears at odds with the painterliness of the green, flower-strewn cloth behind the shield and the delicately shadow-casting gold acanthus in the border. On closer inspection, however, one can see that the simple swords have been painted over an earlier coat of arms, whose form leaks through the red paint. Thus: an early owner (the first or second?) added the coat of arms to a prominent place at the front of the book, and a subsequent owner (the second or third?) overpainted the shield with an anodyne symbol to erase evidence of the former ownership. An English owner of a Southern Netherlandish book of hours, introduced above, has likewise inserted a folio near the beginning of the book with an even more complicated coat of arms, one with three lobsters boiled a gules (Cambridge, UL, Ms. Ii.6.2; fig. 119).[19]

Fig. 120 Annunciation opening in the Hours of Jacobus Johannes IJsbrands. Utrecht, Universiteitsbibliotheek, Ms. 15 C 5, fol. 15v-16r. Image © Utrecht Universiteitsbibliotheek

Jacobus Johannes IJsbrands (d. 1504) accomplished several functions simultaneously with the full-page images he commissioned for his book of hours around 1460, which included his coats of arms (Utrecht, UB, Ms. 15 C 5; fig. 120). As befitting a canon of the Cathedral in Utrecht, he commissioned his book in Latin. Although the painted miniature clashes with the penwork borders on the facing page, the two types of decoration perform different roles. The penwork that brands the book as a product of Utrecht: the Utrecht draakjes (dragons) that populate many of the initials.[20] He enhanced the openings of the major texts with painted miniatures attributed to one of the best painters in Utrecht, the Master of Gijsbrecht van Brederode. With his paint, he performs jobs that even the best calligraphers could not pull off. He has not only depicted the patron in his robes that defined his status, but has turned the patron’s coat of arms, along with those of his family members, into decorative finials in the margins. Moreover, the painter has depicted the patron partially overlapping the frame as if entering the sacred space. Jacobus Johannes IJsbrands joins Gabriel and God in announcing the incarnation of Christ. This is a miniature that performs many functions at once.

Images for Adding Value

There was another reason to adopt elements of the modular method, which were not about increasing efficiency or decreasing costs, but rather about increasing the value of a manuscript beyond what a single-atelier system would allow. Let me explain. When Simon de Varie added images to his manuscript, his motivation was not just to personalize it (for the original illuminators had already accomplished this by depicting him in prayer before the Virgin) but to embellish it with the work of one of the most celebrated painters in the land: Jean Fouquet. In the modern era an unscrupulous dealer divided the Hours of Simon de Varie into two volumes. Parts of the manuscript are now in the Getty Museum in Los Angeles and in the Koninklijke Bibliotheek in The Hague. Piecing the manuscript together (virtually) reveals that it comprises illumination made in two campaigns of work.

A team of illuminators in Paris completed the main part of the work by 1455. At nearly the same time, or very shortly thereafter, Jean Fouquet, one of the few illuminators scholars can identify by name, supplied several added miniatures (HKB, Ms. 74 G 37a).[21] Jean Fouquet was apparently commissioned to create some more imagery for the luxurious manuscript that would specify Simon de Varie as its owner and depict him in the act of prayer. To this end, Jean Fouquet supplied a frontispiece with the coats of arms of Simon de Varie on the recto (HKB, Ms. 74 G 37a; fig. 121).[22] The patron’s motto flutters from a loose banderol from the arms, and the object is represented against a backdrop of floral trellis, a motif that will recur in other additions. On the verso of the leaf the artist depicted the Virgin and Child in half-length, appearing as a miniature altarpiece (fig. 122).[23] His execution is extremely delicate, with the Virgin’s robe flowing over her child’s head.

Fig. 123 Parisian miniaturist, Simon de Varie kneeling in devotion before the Virgin, in the Hours of Simon de Varie. The Hague, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Ms. 74 G 37, fol. 1r. Image © Koninklijke Bibliotheek—the National Library of The Netherlands

The artist has again asserted his patron’s identity by branding the image at the four corners with the repeated coat of arms of Simon de Varie, as if to show that the patron was ever in the presence of the Virgin. In fact, the illuminator responsible for the original campaign of work has already included an image depicting Simon de Varie kneeling in devotion before the Virgin (fig. 123). The added leaf, however, magnifies the imagery, adds his coat of arms (and with it, his status), and further personalizes the image with his motto. Indeed, the sheer quality of the painting of Jean Fouquet’s image of the Virgin is sure to have impressed any who looked at the book, ensuring that no one could fail to associate the image with its patron. But Fouquet worked in Tours, not in Paris, and he may have never seen the manuscript to which he was contributing. Paradoxically, he could personalize the book but remain remote from its production because of the component-based system of manuscript production. The patron is in the presence of the Virgin, but the artist was not in the presence of the patron.

A related set of concerns was at play in the Trivulzio hours, likewise a high-end production. Probably commissioned by a member of the court of Charles the Bold around 1469, the Trivulzio hours includes many single-leaf miniatures. Its owner apparently wanted images by some of the most famous and great names, but these were artists who lived in different cities.[24] The mechanics of the modular method allowed him to piece together a manuscript with many more full-page miniatures than most other books of hours have, and allowed him to sample the wares of several of several well-known painters, thereby turning his book of hours into a gallery for the best contemporary artists. But this is not because the patron could only afford to embellish his book in stages, but because he apparently desired to have images by several of the most famous artists alive, and they worked in different cities. Painters who supplied miniatures for the Trivuzio Hours were Simon Marmion from Valenciennes; the Vienna Master of Mary of Burgundy, who presumably worked in Ghent; and Lieven van Lathem, who worked in Ghent and then later in Antwerp. They apparently sent their images in, as it were, to be included in the project. So while the nobility—super-rich who had inherited wealth—could use the single-leaf image to possess examples of many famous artists in a single work, the nouveaux riches—who earned their wealth through business and trade—used them to add bling as funds allowed.

Images for Missals

While some images were added because they represented new objects of devotion that an owner wanted to possess, others were added because their predecessors had worn out. For example, the users of the Gouda Missal (HKB, Ms. 135 H 45, introduced above) gave it a new Crucifixion miniature (fig. 124).[25] This is the image that the priest would kiss during the performance of the mass, so it is not surprising that the original one in this book wore out around 1500, prompting the owners to replace it. The replacement leaf, now fol. 101 (with the image on the verso) is a singleton that has been made expressly for a missal, which are larger than books for personal devotion. It is possible that the ateliers existed specifically to replace worn-out canon pages for missals.

Fig. 125 Masters of Otto van Moerdrecht, Crucifixion miniature inserted as a canon image in a missal copied in Delft. Heidelberg, Universitätsbibliothek, Ms. Trübner 21, fol. 96v-97r. Image © Heidelberg, Universitätsbibliothek, all rights reserved.

One such source for canon pages was the so-called Master(s) of Otto van Moerdrecht.[26] Their name comes from one of their earliest known patrons. Otto van Moerdrecht, canon of Utrecht Cathedral, presented a copy of a theological work, the Postilla in Prophetas by Nicolaus de Lyra, to the monastery of Nieuwlicht near Utrecht in 1424. This manuscript has distinctive painted decoration (which has been attributed to the Master of Otto van Moerdrecht) that reappears in books of hours, missals, and prestigious commissions for the next five decades. A single person could not have accomplished the large output of works in this style, so the “Master” of Otto van Moerdrecht has become the “Masters.” Saskia van Bergen has deduced that a number of artists working in a related style painted the miniatures in this rather substantial group of manuscripts, largely based on templates and models. Moreover, Hanns Peter Neuheuser has identified a number of large Crucifixion images that these artists have produced, which were destined for missals.[27] These include one miniature preserved in a missal (the winter part) that had been copied in Delft (Heidelberg, UB, Ms. Trübner 21; fig. 125).

This disparity between decoration styles on either side of the gutter in Trübner 21 reveals that miniature came from a different source than the text.28 The text pages are decorated in a Delft style from the 1440s, with sprigs of green leaves running along a linear armature, whereas the decoration around the miniature has blue, yellow and orange leaves, as well as marginal angels that comment mournfully on the main image. One finds these little angels most often in manuscripts illuminated in Utrecht, which is where Otto van Moerdrecht lived and where he hired his eponymous master. However, the text pages were decorated and presumably copied in Delft. Feasts in red in the calendar include “Augustini patris nostri sollempne festum” (August [28]), which suggests that it was made at an Augustinian convent. The manuscript was most likely copied by the sisters at the convent of St. Agnes in Delft, who had an active manuscript atelier in the mid-fifteenth century, and who are known to have copied and decorated other manuscripts in Latin, including the Fagel Missal, which they made for their own use in 1459–60.

Although the missal was made in Delft, it was adapted for a convent in Amsterdam: that of the convent of St. Mary Magdalene.[29] Their note of ownership survives on the inner cover: “Istud missale hiemale pertinet sanctimonialibus sancte Marie Magdalene in aemstelredam.” This had originally been a convent of Franciscan women, but they reformed, an act that always assumes moving toward a more highly controlled enclosure and a more stringent set of rules. In this case, they became a convent of Canonesses Regular, who followed the rule of St. Augustine; whereas Franciscan sisters largely used the vernacular in their devotional books, Canonesses used Latin. Their reform therefore meant re-education, and with it, a new set of authoritative books. They received some of these books from established Augustinian convents. The Utrecht calendar already had a red entry for “Augustini patris nostri sollempne festum” (August 28), but the Translation of St. Mary Magdalene was added to the calendar for March 9 to make the book appropriate for its new home in Amsterdam. The convent in Delft may have sent the manuscript to their newly-reformed sisters in Amsterdam.

An examination of the binding (brown leather, blind stamped, over boards) indicates it may be from the fifteenth century, and perhaps the book’s second binding. At any rate, the book must have been rebound when it entered the convent in Amsterdam. Perhaps these changes were necessary to turn the manuscript from a bedraggled hand-me-down into a semi-bespoke luxurious gift. Several structural adjustments, which were made in the fifteenth century, required rebinding. I assess these below.

The full-page miniature—the Crucifixion folio—does not look as worn as the facing text folio, with the Te igitur incipit. That folio is worn from handling, and from moisture stains that may have resulted from being sprinkled with holy water. I propose that the Masters of Otto van Moerdrecht may have created this Crucifixion miniature in order to replace one that had been severely worn, and that the original image would have had wear matching that of the facing text folio. As the manuscript may not have been made expressly for the sisters in Amsterdam, but only adapted later for their use, it is possible that the book received a new Crucifixion miniature at the time it was given to the newly reformed canonesses. Thus, when the sisters in Amsterdam received their new missal, it might have been refreshed with a new miniature, one that hadn’t yet been kissed and manhandled.

The first folio is a singleton sewn and glued to the beginning of the book; it consists of original parchment, with original ruling, but was harvested from elsewhere in the book. It has an enormous hole in the center, which is why the scribe avoided writing on it in the first instance. It provided, nonetheless, the physical support for a new dedication page, inscribed some time in the fifteenth century and mounted at the beginning of the book. It now bears testimony to a promise: the owners of the book have agreed to say masses for the members of a family every week. It reads:

In primis servetur memoria Benefactorum dominus huius. Tem tenemur omni hebdomador ad quatuor missas scilitet inprimis ad tres pro magistro Johanne AEmilij et pro Elizabetha et Lobbrecht AEmilij duabus sororibus eius ad placitum legentis et ad unam missam pro Elisabetha Grebber et parentibus suis etiam ad placitum segmentis. Item senietur memoria ter in hebdomada cut collecta pro defunctis scilicet secunda quarta et sexta feria inprimis pro Juniore Jacobo Nicolai. Item sub eadem memoria pro Maria et Aleyde Johannis Godulphi et parentibus earum. Item pro Symone Jacobi et Katherina Nicolai uxore eius. Item pro Velsen Gerardi begutte benefactricis.

Of primary importance, this [book] is to preserve the memory of its benefactors. The first three are held every week for four masses scilitet for Master Johan Emilij and two sisters Elizabeth and Lobbrecht Emilij his plea to the reader and one mass for Elizabeth Grebber and their parents to the right segments. Also senietur memory collected three times a week just for the dead, especially for the youngest, James, Nicholas, of course, Wednesdays and Fridays. Again, Mary and Aleyde of John Godulphi and under the same memory for their parents. Also for Simon James and Katherine Nicholas, his wife. Also for Velsen Gerard begutte benefactricis.

These benefactors have turned a used book into a tool for their memory and salvation. It is likely that the sheet was inscribed and attached to the book when it went to Amsterdam. The sisters there, who had previously been Franciscans, were now Augustinians, and therefore were required to function in Latin and to perform the daily offices. Their status as Augustinians made them more attractive to benefactors, who often considered the Latin prayers of more highly controlled Augustinians to have greater effect than those of more loosely controlled Franciscans.

Fig. 126 Masters of Otto van Moerdrecht, Crucifixion miniature inserted as a canon image in a missal copied in Hulsbergen (near Hattem). Enschede, Rijksmuseum Twenthe, inv. no. 381, fol. 125v-126r (photography James H. Marrow, Princeton University). Image © Rijksmuseum Twenthe, Enschede

Whether the Masters of Otto van Moerdrecht made the miniature for the book when it was new or to replace a worn-out one, it is clear that they were supplying loose canon pages for missals and did quite a swift trade in them. They apparently made one for the Brothers of the Common Life of St. Jerome (Hiëronymusberg) in Hulsbergen (near Hattem) in 1457 (now Enschede, RMT, inv. no. 381; fig. 126). According to a note on the first folio of that manuscript, the brothers made the manuscript for the Tertiaries of St. Agnes in Amersfoort in 1457.[30] The manuscript contains penwork initials with pen-flourishes in a style associated with the Brothers of the Common Life of St. Jerome. Such penwork appears, for example, on the Te igitur page across from the Crucifixion. In their penwork the brothers reveal no ability to depict the human figure, but only to make iterative abstract designs. For that reason, they relied on professional artists outside the monastery to provide the Crucifixion, the centerpiece of the missal. The Moerdrecht Masters supplied the miniature with a painted border. As with several examples I have analyzed above, here the brothers were not content to leave the painted decoration as is, clashing with their own penwork across the gutter. Their solution was to add some more penwork to the margins of the Crucifixion miniature. This made at least some show to integrate it visually, and at the same time it served a purpose: the ornate cruciform designs they added to the bottom and side margins gave the priest a target for his kiss during the ritual osculation of the image.

Other Single-Leaf Miniatures


[LEFT]: Fig. 127 Masters of the Delft Grisailles, Virgin and Child, full-page miniature inserted in a book of hours opposite the Obsecro te. Brussels, Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België, Ms. 21696, 116v-117r. Image © Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België, all rights reserved.
[RIGHT]: Fig. 128 Book of hours with text and decoration from Utrecht or the Eastern Netherlands, and a miniature added later depicting St. Andrew, made by the Masters of the Delft Grisailles. Nijmegen, Radboud Universiteit, Ms. 283, fol. 204v-205r. © Radboud Universiteitsbibliotheek


[LEFT]: Fig. 129 Book of hours with text and decoration from Utrecht or the Eastern Netherlands, and a miniature added later, inscribed on the back (204r) with a prayer to St. Andrew. Nijmegen, Radboud Universiteit, Ms. 283 fol. 203v-204r. © Radboud Universiteitsbibliotheek
[RIGHT]: Fig. 130 Opening from the added calendar, revealing St. Hippolytus, patron of Delft, in red. Nijmegen, Radboud Universiteit, Ms. 283 fol. 4v-5r. © Radboud Universiteitsbibliotheek

A book of hours that can stylistically be attributed to the convent of St. Agnes in Delft tells a story in dirt. Like many books of hours, this one contains a copy of the Obsecro te. And like many copies of the Obsecro te, this one accompanies an image of the Virgin, a full-page miniature en grisaille attributed to the so-called Masters of the Delft Grisailles (Brussels, KB, 21696, 116v-117r; fig. 127).[31] One can see through the context of the book, however, that the image was not part of its original production. Whereas the text folio—the right side of the opening—has been thoroughly darkened through use, the image, while not in pristine condition, has been little handled. Therefore the owner inserted the image well after reading the prayer dozens or even hundreds of times. Perhaps adding the image was a response to reading, an attempt to heighten the interest of a well-thumbed and very familiar prayer. Or perhaps the owner added images when he could afford them.

A book of hours introduced above, Nijmegen, UB, Ms. 283, also bears an added leaf made by the so-called Masters of the Delft Grisailles (fig. 128). These artists specialized in making single-leaf miniatures, blank on the back, that could be incorporated into books of hours. Originally made in Utrecht or the Eastern Netherlands, this book was probably brought to Delft for its updates. Whereas in the previous example, the image was left blank on the back, in this case the owner took advantage of the empty parchment that the grisaille afforded, and he or she treated the sheet as a page to be inscribed and integrated (fig. 129). A rubric was added in the bottom margin of the miniature (van sente Johan Evangelist), refers not to the picture, which represents St. Andrew, but rather to the prayer on the following folio. The mid-century scribe, probably from Delft, inscribed a prayer to St. Andrew on the back of his image. To make the integration complete, he or she has scratched out part of the rubric on fol. 203v and inscribed “Andries apostel” over the palimpsest. It is likely that the owner chose this particular spot in the manuscript to insert St. Andrew because it falls in a series of suffrages to male martyrs, and because and the previous text finishes at the bottom of the verso folio, which mean that an extra folio could easily be interpolated.

When the owner rebound the manuscript to incorporate the image of St. Andrew, he or she apparently also took the opportunity to give the manuscript a new calendar. The old one, with saints from Utrecht or further east, was discarded, and a new one for Delft was added. This added calendar, with one month per folio side, is written in very condensed script and with a different text block than the rest of the manuscript, which reveals that it was made in a different campaign of work (fig. 130). This calendar is nearly identical with one in HKB, Ms. 131 H 10, a manuscript probably made in the convent of St. Agnes in Delft in the 1420s. Sisters in this convent may also have updated the manuscript now in Nijmegen and inserted the grisaille miniature. If so, then both of my examples with miniatures added by these painters (BKB, Ms. 21696 and Nijmegen, UB, Ms. 283) can be associated with this convent, and the possibility must remain open that the grey miniatures originated there.

Another Delft book of hours was updated by the Masters of the Dark Eyes, who were probably secular professionals (for the manuscripts they made do not emphasize particular confessors, such as Francis or Augustine, that would reveal a monastic patron). This book of hours is now in Yale’s Beinecke Library (Ms. 434).[32] Originally copied in Delft around 1480–1500, probably at one of the female convents in that city, the book has a calendar for Delft and distinctive red and blue Delft penwork (in the lower tiers of the hierarchy of decoration), plus painted border decoration (in the upper tiers). For example, the original painted decoration appears at the openings for the canonical hours, which also have five-line painted and gilt initials (fig. 131).[33] The original campaign of work also included painted nine-line initials at the openings to the major texts, such as the Hours of the Virgin, although it’s unclear whether female monastics executed these, or whether they farmed them out to local professionals (fig. 132).

The convent that copied the book of hours and supplied this basic decoration, did not, however, create the full-page miniatures; rather, an early owner added these later, and their introduction caused a major disruption to the decorative program. For this manuscript, at least two different artists within the group called the “Masters of the Dark Eyes” painted highly colorful full-page miniatures complete with gold and painted border decoration involving trompe-l’oeil strewn flowers, and gold acanthus (fig. 132).[34]


[LEFT]: Fig. 132 Opening at the incipit of the Hours of the Virgin, with the Adoration of the Magi (full-page miniature executed by the Masters of the Dark Eyes on added parchment), and a text folio with script, penwork decoration, and a historiated initial executed in Delft, with borders overpainted to match the facing folio. New Haven, Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Ms. 434, fol. 14v-15r. Image in the Public Domain.
[CENTER]: Fig. 133 Opening at the Seven Hours of the Holy Sacrament, with the Adoration of the Host by Angels (full-page miniature executed by the Masters of the Dark Eyes on added parchment), and a text folio with script, penwork decoration, and a painted and gilt initial executed in Delft, with borders overpainted to match the facing folio. New Haven, Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Ms. 434, fol. 55v-56r. Image in the Public Domain.
[RIGHT]: Fig. 134 Opening at the Vigil for the Dead, with the Raising of Lazarus (full-page miniature executed by the Masters of the Dark Eyes on added parchment), and a text folio with script, penwork decoration, and a painted and gilt initial executed in Delft, with borders overpainted to match the facing folio. New Haven, Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Ms. 434, fol. 149v-150r. image in the Public Domain.

When they added the miniatures around 1500–1510, suddenly the facing text pages were not decorated with sufficient grandeur, and the borders had to be overpainted in order to maintain visual continuity with the full-page miniatures. In other words, their intervention had elevated the miniatures, so they needed now to also elevate the borders in order to maintain the hierarchy. Original vines painted on the bare parchment still poke through the layer of fully-painted colorfields that the Masters of the Dark Eyes painted on top of them.

The addition of full-page miniatures disrupted the ecosystem of the book by shifting the hierarchy of decoration. When the Masters of the Dark Eyes added images, they had to raise the intensity of the decoration on the facing folios; otherwise, their bold blocks of color would have made the existing penwork decoration look extremely insubstantial. They systematically elevated the hierarchy of decoration throughout the codex. One opening they doctored up introduces a somewhat rare text, “The Seven Hours of the Holy Sacrament,” whose incipit appears on fol. 56r (fig. 133). This text was copied by the monastic atelier in Delft, and then the Masters of the Dark Eyes supplied a relevant full-page miniature, in this case, one depicting angels adoring the sacrament in a monstrance on an altar. These masters delight in filling the page with color and gold, and do so by dividing the border space into compartments. I suspect that painting small, compartmentalized objects—strawberries, flowers, and jewels—took less effort than figurative painting would, and less effort than a continuous design would have. Making such compartments also allows the painter to break up the space into contrasting yellow and blue fields, thereby adding more color and visual interest to the page than a solid color would have. The artists added an analogous border on the facing text page, thereby overpainting the existing decoration.

The Masters of the Dark Eyes applied similar treatment to each of the four major texts in the manuscript. For the Vigil for the Dead, they added a miniature depicting Christ raising Lazarus (fig. 134). Here again the illuminators carefully coordinated the new decoration around the text folio so that it perfectly matches the decoration around the miniature, again relying on compartments in order to break their painting into smaller, easier-to-handle components. In each case, they left only a sprig of the original decoration—that immediately around the initial—because their linear, compartmentalized designs would have been difficult to fit around the jagged edge of the letter. The somewhat low quality of the painted border results in half-sized compartments with truncated jewels, as if the artists were pasting on wallpaper that came with motifs in fixed sizes. What they lacked in skill, they made up for with colorful exuberance. Their urban clientele must have appreciated this flamboyance.

One important question remains: did the owner of this book of hours take this manuscript to one of the Masters of the Dark Eyes and commission the added decoration? Or is it possible that the Masters of the Dark Eyes bought up used books of hours and then refurbished them, to add value and make them appealing to their socially mobile clientele? That question is unanswerable without further evidence. I can say, however, that the Masters of the Dark Eyes must have tested their market and responded by adding lots of color and gold quickly. They also understood the importance of visual unity across an opening, so that their large colorful miniatures would always be framed by even larger colorful borders.


[LEFT]: Fig. 135 Opening at the Hours of the Holy Spirit in a book of hours inscribed in Delft, with an added full-page miniature depicting the Mass of St. Gregory. The Hague, Meermanno Museum, Ms. 10 F 2, fol. 133v-134r. Image © Meermanno Museum
[CENTER]: Fig. 136 Opening at an indulgenced prayer to the Virgin in a book of hours inscribed in Delft, with a blank left for an image that was never filled in. The Hague, Meermanno Museum, Ms. 10 F 2, fol. 162v-163r. Image © Meermanno Museum
[RIGHT]: Fig. 137 Opening at the Hours of the Virgin, with an added full-page miniature depicting the Annunciation. The Hague, Meermanno Museum, Ms. 10 F 2, fol. 14v-15r. Image © Meermanno Museum

Some makers of full-page miniatures must have included the Mass of St. Gregory in “standard packages” of images to be sold off the shelf to owners of existing books. Evidence of such a package appears in a book of hours made in or around Delft in the fourth quarter of the fifteenth century (The Hague, Meermanno Museum, Ms. 10 F 2; fig. 135). This manuscript reveals not one set of post-production adjustments, but two. Different owners probably made the distinct sets of changes. The second of the two sets of changes involved the addition of the Mass of St. Gregory and other full-page images that are closely related stylistically. An analysis of the original parts of the manuscript and the two sets of additions reveals layers of personalization.

When the book was originally planned, the scribe had left blank folios on the versos before the major text divisions, which were ruled for the size of the anticipated images. These images were to be integral components of the book’s structure, but these were never painted in (fig. 136). Instead, a later owner added a group of four images made in a different campaign of work: three standard subjects to preface the texts that define the book of hours—an Annunciation to face the Hours of the Virgin (fig. 137), a Crucifixion to face the Hours of the Cross, and David playing his harp to face the Seven Penitential Psalms—and a full-page Mass of St. Gregory, which has been added to preface the Hours of the Holy Spirit (The Hague, Meermanno Museum, Ms. 10 F 2; fig. 135). Whereas the artist who supplied the images assumed that books of hours would contain the Adoro te, this book of hours lacks that text. The manuscript, which may have been made as early as 1460, was not supplied with a copy of the Verses of St. Gregory, but that did not stop the (later) owner from adding a full-page Mass of St. Gregory. The fact that the four images are all in the same style and have the same kind of border decoration suggests that the owner bought them as a group. Miniaturists made packages of full-page illuminations of standard subjects for books of hours, packets that patrons could buy to instantly illuminate their prayerbooks. Perhaps by 1460 or so, when these miniatures were made, the Mass of St. Gregory was simply considered a standard subject that no book owner would want to do without.


[LEFT]: Fig. 138 Opening before the Hours of the Virgin, revealing two blank folios. The Hague, Meermanno Museum, Ms. 10 F 2, fol. 13v-14r. Image © Meermanno Museum
[RIGHT]: Fig. 139 Detail of a blank folio with offsets of round badges. The Hague, Meermanno Museum, Ms. 10 F 2, fol. 13v (detail). Image © Meermanno Museum

I suspect that the person who added these images was the book’s second owner, for a previous owner had sewn badges to several blank folios that had previously prefaced these texts (fig. 138 and fig. 139).[35] Offsets from these badges, however, have not been imprinted on the backs of the miniatures. This indicates that someone removed the badges before adding the miniatures. Perhaps the second owner was trying to erase the signs of the previous owner’s use and add her own instead.

Images Removed from One Manuscript and Inserted into Another

Sometimes it is clear that a miniature was simply not intended for its present manuscript. An Italian book of hours now in The Hague (HKB, Ms. 133 D 15, fol. 65v-66r) has miniatures made in the Southern Netherlands. Of course, it is perfectly conceivable that a manuscript made in one place could have images made in another. In fact, such combinations speak to the very essence of the separation of ateliers and division of labor at the heart of this study. However, the images now in this manuscript have obviously been removed from a different book. This is apparent from the relative amount of dirt visible on the left and right sides of the opening to the Office of the Dead (fig. 140).[36] The miniature has been thoroughly touched and handled, but not by the owner of the Italian book of hours, whose text leaves are pristine. Likewise, the miniature depicting the Visitation has been inserted as a recto, even though it has clearly been designed as a verso (as the wider border is on the left side of the miniature), which indicates that its current position was not originally intended (fig. 141).[37] Someone has apparently cannibalized a Southern Netherlandish book of hours in order to provide the vital organs for this Italian book, which was designed—as the hierarchy of decoration shows—without full-page miniatures at the major openings.


[LEFT]: Fig. 142 Male saint, full-page miniature inserted as a frontispiece (1400–1450). ’s-Heerenberg, The Netherlands, Collection Dr. J. H. van Heek, Huis Bergh Foundation, Ms. 11, fol. 1r. Image © The Huis Bergh Foundation
[RIGHT]: Fig. 143 Descent of the Holy Spirit, historiated initial, 1250–1300, pasted into a book’s back cover. The Hague, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Ms. 133 E 22. Image © Koninklijke Bibliotheek—the National Library of The Netherlands

Images might come from a book that has, for whatever reason, lost its value. When such redistribution of images occurs, the miniatures land in a new context and take on a new role. Such is the case with an image depicting a standing male saint dressed in the garb of an abbot. It was removed from a manuscript, possibly a prayerbook, and inserted as a “frontispiece” to a different book, which is still in its medieval cover (fig. 142).[38] In other words, early modern collectors were not the first to cut apart manuscripts, but late medieval owners also cut images out of books. Likewise, a book of hours in Dutch (HKB, Ms. 133 E 22) was made in Utrecht in the third quarter of the fifteenth century and contains a package of full-page miniatures at the major openings (fig. above, 133 E 22, fol. 101v-102r). It has several other added things. One of the owners has pasted to the inside back cover a historiated initial made in France around 1250–1300 showing the Descent of the Holy Spirit over the assembled apostles, who grasp books and gasp (fig. 143). Before someone decided to trim it and append it to this manuscript, the image was already several hundred years old. As is the nature of such acts, this one is impossible to date with exactitude. One can imagine that a Dutch speaker who owned a thirteenth-century French prayerbook in Latin would have had limited use for it, if he read only Middle Dutch. The French images may have been like relics, to be divided from the body of the book and circulated around. At least one recipient decided to keep the loose treasure in his prayerbook to protect it.[39]


[LEFT]: Fig. 144 Folio from the Murthly Hours, with a historiated initial enclosing a female patron kneeling before an altar. Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland, Ms. 21000, fol. 149v. Image © National Library of Scotland, all rights reserved.Fig. 145 Folio from the Murthly Hours, formerly blank page, with a series of added inscriptions in French and Gaelic. Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland, Ms. 21000, fol. Iiv. Image © National Library of Scotland, all rights reserved.
[SECOND-FROM-LEFT]: Fig. 145 Folio from the Murthly Hours, formerly blank page, with a series of added inscriptions in French and Gaelic. Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland, Ms. 21000, fol. Iiv. Image © National Library of Scotland, all rights reserved.
[SECOND-FROM-RIGHT]: Fig. 146 Lot’s wife turning into a pillar of salt. English miniature repurposed for a French book of hours used in Scotland (the Murthly Hours). Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland, Ms. 21000, fol. 5r. Image © National Library of Scotland, all rights reserved.
[RIGHT]: Fig. 147 Entombment of Christ. English miniature repurposed for a French book of hours used in Scotland, with two curtains sewn to the margins (the Murthly Hours). Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland, Ms. 21000, fol. 21r. Image © National Library of Scotland, all rights reserved.

There were other motivations, too, for rehabilitating old miniatures. Sometimes old, discarded miniatures were of higher quality than anything that the book owner could now commission from scratch. That may have been the reason that the Scottish owner of the Murthly Hours harvested images from another book type (Edinburgh, NLS, Ms. 21000).[40] But they were not the only additions. The book has been Frankensteined together from several components of varying vintages. For instance, the main core of the texts that define the book of hours were copied in Paris in the 1280s, and exported to Scotland. These parts of the book contain original illuminations depicting a female patron in prayer. John Higgit argues that it was made for the supplicant pictured on fol. 149v, whom he identifies as an English woman named Joan de Valence (fig. 144). She married in or shortly after 1292. Her father, William de Valence (a half-brother of King Henry II of England), had been born in France and maintained ties there (he was in Paris in 1286, for example). I note, however, that the woman in prayer lacks a coat of arms or other sufficiently personalizing details to verify the status of the image as a portrait. As books of hours were often made as wedding gifts, it is unlikely that a book would be written so far advance of a marriage. Assigning ownership of the book to Joan de Valence is hasty.

While the book’s earliest ownership remains obscure, the book provides some clues about its later owners. Obits in the calendar for Sir John Stuart (Stewart), lord of Lorne (d. 1421), and his wife Isabella, Lady of Lorne (d.1439) demonstrate that the book was brought to Scotland by the early fifteenth century. It also contains layers of additions on the blank flyleaves: an added prayer in French, followed by one of the earliest inscriptions in Gaelic, the latter were written in the late fourteenth or early fifteenth century and are contemporaneous with the additions in the calendar (fig. 145). These Gaelic additions further indicate that the manuscript was in Scotland at an early date.

Original parts of the manuscript include a calendar, the Hours of the Virgin, the Hours of the Holy Spirit, the Penitential Psalms, a Litany of the Saints, the Gradual Psalms and the Office of the Dead. An early owner—probably one in Britain—added a series of full-page miniatures to it, of the sort one associates with prefatory images to a psalter. Specifically this packet includes 23 full-page illuminations painted by three English artists, ca. 1260–1280 that were evidently made in a different campaign of work from the French body of the prayerbook. These illuminations may have been harvested from a psalter. They depict scenes from Genesis, the Infancy of Christ and the Passion, respectively. One of the miniatures—which shows Lot’s wife turning into a pillar of salt as she looks back on Sodom—appears to have been torn rather violently from its original manuscript (fig. 146). Parchment is extremely tough, and it would have required considerable force to rend it asunder.

By applying the full-page miniatures to the book of hours, the owner was adding an image type associated with an earlier kind of prayerbook (the psalter) to a newer form of book. The owner(s) also considered the book as a site of expansion and experimentation. One owner has also sewn curtains to the top margins of all of the miniatures, thereby adding another physical layer to the book. Lifting the curtain to reveal the image below creates the tension and catharsis of revelation, and adds a new ritual to the acts of seeing, reading, and contemplating. However, the owner has treated one of the miniatures differently: the Entombment (fig. 147). Instead of sewing in a curtain only to the top, he or she has sewn a curtain at the bottom margin as well. It is as if, prompted by the actions of Christ’s friends who wrap him in a shroud and tuck him into his sepulcher in the image, the user has swaddled the image in shrouds, so that he or she can draw the two textiles together and lay Jesus into manuscript bed.

Old images often found new homes in books of hours, which were essentially expandable and accommodating. To take another example, a book of hours whose core was written and illuminated in North Holland has full-page illuminations that were harvested from another book (Leiden, Ltk 289; fig. 148).


[LEFT]: Fig. 148 Opening of a book of hours from Haarlem, with an inserted full-page miniature depicting the Virgin and Child with female donor. Leiden, Universiteitsbibliotheek, Ms. Ltk 289, fol. 13v-14r. © Leiden, Universiteitsbibliotheek
[RIGHT]: Fig. 149 Christ before Pilate, full-page miniature, inserted in a book of hours from Haarlem. Leiden, Universiteitsbibliotheek, Ms. Ltk 289, fol. 71r. Image © Leiden, Universiteitsbibliotheek

This manuscript was probably copied in Haarlem, where it was decorated with penwork and painted/gild borders at the major text openings. The penwork is similar to that found in the Missal of the Canons Regular of Haarlem, and the painted decoration has been classified as early “bunches-of-twigs” typical of Haarlem in the 1440s.[41] At some point in the fifteenth century an owner had the book taken apart in order to incorporate 11 full-page colored grisaille miniatures. Although grisaille miniatures later became a specialty associated with Delft, these miniatures appear to have been imported from the south, either from the Southern Netherlands or from Northern France. Miniatures from the south such as these became the models for the so-called Masters of the Delft Grisailles. In this case, however, they were removed from some other book in order to embellish this Haarlem book of hours.

A different manuscript had hosted the miniatures, and the owner (or the binder) harvested them from that book. Perhaps the miniatures were in a Latin book of hours, which somehow ended up in Haarlem, where few lay people could read Latin. Vernacular prayerbooks were the norm in the Northern Netherlands of the fifteenth century, but Latin prevailed in the Southern Netherlands and Northern France. Thus, the miniatures were the only valuable component of the book, so the rest was discarded.

In their original manuscript, the full-page grisaille miniatures were all bound as verso pages. One can see, for example, that the folio with the miniature depicting Christ before Pilate has now been inserted as a recto, but it previously had a different orientation to its book (Leiden, UB, Ms. Ltk 289; fig. 149). The vertical band of dirt along the outer edge has been deposited by the miniature’s previous binding, where it was inserted as a verso. It is uncommon for miniatures to appear in a book as rectos. That they are rectos in this book is an indication that the book was not originally designed to have full-page miniatures. Not all of these miniatures ended up in ideal places, and some of the texts don’t have a picture to preface the opening, and some of the images preface prayers that aren’t quite right. For example, the Hours of the Virgin is prefaced by an image of the patron venerating the Virgin and Child, where one would expect to find an Annunciation. An image of the Betrayal accompanies the Hours of the Cross (fol. 59v-60r) where one would expect the Crucifixion. Other Passion images are distributed throughout the rest of the book, without much regard to what texts they accompany. For example, the Agony in the Garden has been placed opposite the incipit of the Seven Penitential Psalms (fol. 121v-122r).

The manuscript from which the owner harvested the miniatures was slightly smaller than Ltk 289. Therefore the binder has added strips of parchment to some of the leaves in order to extend them. Such an extension is glued to the bottom of the image depicting a woman kneeling before the standing Virgin and Child (fol. 13v, as above). This image shows the woman wearing a French outfit and hairdo; she is different from the presumably Dutch owner of the new prayerbook. These are all indications that the images were not planned for this book, and that the book was not originally planned to have images, but that someone fitted them in later as best he could.

Fig. 150 Note written in the fifteenth century indicating where one can find the text for vespers and compline. Leiden, Universiteitsbibliotheek, Ms. Ltk 289, fol. 112v. © Leiden, Universiteitsbibliotheek

All these parts were bound in the late fifteenth century in a panel-stamped binding. Although one is tempted to call it an “original” binding because it is from the fifteenth century and therefore roughly contemporary with the book, it may well be the book’s second binding. This would mean that the owner rebound it to accommodate the miniatures, but the binder has placed the quires out of order! One can see that this error was made already in the fifteenth century from a note written in a fifteenth-century hand on fol. 112v (fig. 150). The note reads: “vespers and complines of the Hours of Eternal Wisdom are in the last quire of this book.” The quire to which the note refers has been attached after an added section (fol. 212–218), which contains suffrages. Rather than having the book rebound once again, the owner chose to simply add a note indicating where one could find the continuation of the text.

Fig. 151 Presentation of Christ in the Temple, full-page miniature on parchment, added to a later manuscript on paper. ’s-Heerenberg, The Netherlands, Collection Dr. J. H. van Heek, Huis Bergh Foundation, Ms. 3 (inv. no. 301), fol. 4v-5r. Image © The Huis Bergh Foundation

A processional made for a community of friars reveals a different reason for harvesting older manuscripts (’s-Heerenberg, HB, Ms. 3). The friars may have made this manuscript themselves, for their own use in the first quarter of the sixteenth century. As it contains processions for “Beate Marie de Camberone” (fol. 50r), and prayers to St. Pharaïldis (fol. 64v), St. Gislenus (fol. 66v), and St. Hubert (fol. 67v), it may have been made by the friars of St. Truiden, which is equidistant from Cambron-Saint-Vincent and Saint-Hubert. The friars did the best they could with the skills and materials they had at hand. In the first quarter of the sixteenth century, printing was fast replacing hand-written books, and skills for making manuscript were on the decline. Parchment production may have also been declining, or else was simply overshadowed by the much cheaper material of paper whose production was stimulated by the printing industries. The friars made their new manuscript on paper, which has been bitten by the caustic iron gall ink. They applied red and blue penwork as best they could, but stiffly, and the results form networks of uninspired geometric forms. Making figurative imagery would have been hopeless. The book opens with the ceremonial procession for the purification of the Virgin, and instead of attempting to depict the Virgin afresh, they found a used image depicting the Presentation of Christ in the Temple (fig. 151).[42] This inserted image was made in the previous century (c. 1450–1460), on parchment not paper, and probably for a book of hours. Measuring 127×81 mm, it was about the same size as the processional and therefore worked in terms of scale.

One of the most dramatic cannibalized manuscripts involves the body of Christ. An early sixteenth-century printed missal needed a canon page. Rather than make one on paper—which is not very durable, and would wear out quickly under the repeated wear, as the priest kissed the image once during every mass—the printer or an early user has taken a much easier image of Christ crucified (fig. 152).[43] He has used a twelfth-century canon page. Paper had forced obsolescence built into its very material, which made it unsuitable for a missal. The early user realized this, and wanted a kissable image with proven endurance.

Adding Quires

As I have shown above, singletons—if they have a tab that can fold around a quire and be stitched in with the other leaves—can be added into the binding of a book. A singleton with a tab can be thought of as a bifolium with most of one leaf cut off. A bifolium comprises the smallest possible complete quire. Although most scribes worked in terms of the four-bifolium quire (which provides eight pages with sixteen writing surfaces, and equals a complete piece of calf- or goatskin parchment, cut in half three times), they could also set out to inscribe an individual bifolium as a stand-alone unit. Some of these bifolia circulated separately. As I have argued elsewhere, a bifolium was a way to preserve and disseminate a word and image combination or to multiply a new devotion without having to make a whole new book.[44] Such bifolia could have circulated alone, outside a manuscript context; here I look at bifolia that were constructed expressly to be included in a book. Whereas some book owners added a prayer or two to an existing manuscript by filling blank parchment, others added entire quires containing indulgenced texts: these owners must have thought that adding them was good value.

Adding a Bifolium

One of the earliest examples of enhancing a finished codex with a new bifolium occurs in the Egmond Gospels (HKB, Ms. 76 F 1).[45] Containing the four Gospels, the manuscript was written in Carolingian minuscule in Rheims in the third quarter of the ninth century with Northern French illumination executed at the same time. Extensive decoration appears at the canon tables and at the incipits of the four gospels (fig. 153).[46]

The book then made its way north to the Netherlands, where manuscript production was still undeveloped. Around 975, a hundred years after it was made, dedication images were made in Ghent in the form of a bifolium and added to the end of the book (fig. 154).[47] Dirk II, Count of Holland, and his wife Hildegard, presented the manuscript to Egmond Abbey at this time. These added images in fact commemorate this donation. Dirk and Hildegard also had the book covered in a gilt treasure binding sparkling with precious stones, which was lost in the sixteenth century. An inventory made in 1571 of the abbey’s possession mentions the Egmond Gospels. Shortly thereafter, during the period of religious reform in Holland, the manuscript was transferred to the nearest city, Haarlem.

Bilaterally divided by the fold, the bifolium shows the two donors on the left side, each grasping the book and placing it on an altar with a tabernacle, the entire shrine decorated with tiered ornament and swags of drapery. Two arches (which also recall the forms of the canon pages elsewhere in the manuscript) and an ornate roof define the ecclesiastical space denoting “Egmond Abbey.” On the facing folio Dirk II and Hildegard kneel before St. Adalbert, patron of Egmond Abbey. They are recognizable from the previous image, still wearing the same distinctive outfits. For his part, the saint turns to God, represented in a mandorla nestled in a green crenelated cloud. The image therefore reiterates the hierarchy of power, with Hildegard lying prostrate behind her husband and all subservient to God above. These images show the donation of the very book that the miniature has become part of. Self-referential, it was obviously made for this very book. Outside the context of its current frame, the Egmond Gospels themselves, the image would have little meaning. These added images were probably originally on a bifolium, but were apparently then separated before being sewn together during one of the restorations of the book.

Manuscripts that descend through a noble family’s genealogy are often chosen as recipients for updates, for later rulers want to leave their marks on objects that reach deep into history, thereby legitimating their rules. When Charles V, King of France (1364–80) inherited the Hours of Blanche of Savoy, which had been written and illuminated ca. 1325–50, he added a bifolium full of imagery to it to make it his own (New Haven, Beinecke, Ms. 390).[48] The original part of the manuscript had been made at the French court in the second quarter of the fourteenth century. Several images in the original part of the manuscript show the donor, Blanche of Savoy, kneeling before figures from sacred history. In one of these, for example, she kneels before the Trinity (fig. 155).[49] In a quatrefoil frame bound in red, white, and blue, the image presents the patron in the same scale and in the same space as God the Father. A repeating design featuring the gold fleur-de-lis on a blue background forms a backdrop and identifies the patron as a member of the French nobility. Other decoration in the border also heralds the image: full baguette borders, inhabited by an angel swinging a censer, a soldier wielding a sword, and a pair of anthropomorphized creatures blowing horns in the bas-de-page, along with bunnies and birds and vine tendrils. These motifs visually heighten the page. When Charles V inherited the book, he had additions made that imitated these design features.

Charles V’s illuminator carefully studied the earlier illumination before adding a bifolium in the third quarter of the fourteenth century. Paul de Winter has identified the copyist of the added section as Jean l’Avenant, who worked on several other royal commissions, including the Grandes Heures of Philip the Bold, now divided between Cambridge and Brussels.[50] The added bifolium was folded around one of the original bifolia and is therefore fully integrated with the existing manuscript. This added bifolium comprises fol. 1 and 4; it is wrapped around an older bifolium comprising fol. 2–3. There are four surfaces for texts and images in the added bifolium in the Hours of Blanche of Savoy: fol. 1r, 1v, 4r, and 4v. These additions were made to resemble the original manuscript, even though they were added a half-century later.

For example, the page layout of fol. 1v (added later) closely resembles that of its facing folio, 2r (original) (fig. 1v-2r, as above). The later artist has used a similar quatrefoil frame, which is a close approximation of, but is slightly less refined than, the original. He has framed the image in red, white, and blue, but has reversed the order of the colors and has thickened the lines. He has used a similar baguettes border on three sides, but has changed the proportions of the borders. He has filled the interstices with vines and birds but has colored them with a somewhat more intense palette. He has populated the bas-de-page with fantastical creatures that resemble those in the original part. In short: the later artist has adopted a retardataire style so that the additions would blend in with the original components.

Likewise, the new style stands across from the old in the opening on fol. 3v-4r (fig. 156).[51] The left side of the opening (the original part) brandishes a miniature with Blanche kneeling in prayer to St. Louis, who was not only a saint, but also a symbol of French nationalism. On the right sight of the opening is the added physical material. Jean l’Avenant has supplied a facing folio in a similar style, this time with the new patron, Charles V, showing his devotion to one of his chosen saints, Anthony. In other words, Charles V has himself shown naturalized into French history and into the fiber of the book. By using a retardataire style, the illuminator has collapsed time, as if Charles V’s reign were already anticipated during the time of Blanche of Savoy, and indeed, in the time of St. Louis and St. Anthony. The additions to this book and their style form important political choices.

Charles V also recorded his presence in a new volume—a Bible in French—by similarly employing extra inserted parchment. Guiard des Moulins (b. 1251), a canon of St. Pier in Aire-sur-Lys, translated Petrus Comestor’s Bible Historiale Complétée, along selections of the Latin vulgate into French, resulting in the first Bible in French. This text, often highly illuminated, was made in copies for various noble libraries in the fourteenth century. Raoulet d’Orléans copied one of these (now HMMW, Ms. 10 B 23) in Paris, in 1371–72. The book begins with a splash of color in a page-wide miniature showing God the father with the four evangelists writing the Gospels, and the most famous of the Old Testament scenes, the fall from Paradise, in the bas-de-page (fig. 157).[52] On the next opening, the author Guiard des Moulins presents his work to William, archbishop of Sens (fig. 158).[53] The author genuflects before his patron, who is shown as an erudite man sitting at his desk with a book. Cordially the archbishop receives the gift, which is represented as a closed book connoting the finished translation by Guiard des Moulins. The rest of the manuscript is richly illuminated and numerous, with 247 column miniatures and 11 two-column miniatures, all of them in red, white and blue quatrefoil frames.

One illumination in the manuscript departs from this formula: the image at the very beginning of the book (fig. 159).[54] This miniature reiterates the scene on fol. 4v but with different characters. Instead of being just a column wide, it fills the entire folio. Instead of wearing loose robes, the presenter wears tight clothes fashionable for the 1370s. He presents not a closed book but an open one to a secular man on a throne, not an ecclesiastic. The open book features a full-page miniature on one side, thereby emphasizing the fact that the presented book is illuminated. In fact, the image represented in the opening of the depicted book shows God the father in a mandorla; in other words, it resembles the opening miniature of this very Bible. In the full-page presentation scene the repeated motif on the back wall is the French fleur-de-lis in gold against an ultramarine background, setting the scene as a French court. Rather than sitting at a desk reading, the recipient is sitting on a throne under a canopy connoting his power. All of these clues emphasize the gift of an illuminated book to a French monarch.[55]

The presentation miniature forms a bifolium with a text page that identifies the recipient and the date: “In the year of our lord 1371 this work was painted according to a command for the honor of the illustrious prince Charles, King of France, when he was thirty-five and in the eighth year of his reign. John of Bruges, the aforesaid king’s painter, has made this picture with his own hand” (Anno domini millesimo trecentesimo septuagesimo primo istud opus pictum fuit ad preceptam ac honorem illustri principis Karoli regis Francie etatis sue trecesimoquinto et regum sin octavo et Iohannes de Brugis pictor regis predicti fecit hanc picturam propria sua manu). This bifolium, with its outer faces (fol. 1r and 2v) blank, was made in a separate campaign of work from the rest of the manuscript, with a different ruling and script on the text side, and a different scale, palette and hand on the image side from what is found in the rest of the book. According to the inscription “this picture” (i.e., the presentation miniature) was made by Johannes of Bruges, otherwise known as Jean Bondol, official painter at the king’s court. Jean de Vaudetar, chamberlain to the king, presents the manuscript in the image. The inscription indicates that the king commissioned the bifolium from his court painter, and the image commemorates the event of the king’s chamberlain, Jean de Vaudetar, presenting the book to him. However, the bifolium is dated 1371, and the manuscript was not completed until the following year. Thus, the image on the bifolium anticipates the completion of the book (in a different atelier in Paris) and its presentation to the king. The quire is now mounted on a parchment strip that was probably added when the manuscript was rebound in the eighteenth century, but needle holes in the gutter of the bifolium indicate that it was originally sewn into the book. This bifolium attests to the fact that Charles V and his chamberlain Jean de Vaudetar went to some effort and expense to record the event of the book’s presentation. Charles V added a bifolium with a presentation miniature and a dedicatory text to the Bible Historiale in order to document the performance of presentation. He also added a bifolium to the Hours of Blanche of Savoy in order to reinforce the continuity between Louis, Blanche and himself. In both cases he inserted himself into the books’ respective histories through the operation of adding parchment.


[LEFT]: Fig. 160 Opening in a book of hours that reveals the fissure between two campaigns of work. Cambridge, University Library, Ms. Ee.1.14, fol. 50v-51r. Image © Cambridge University Library, all rights reserved.
[RIGHT]: Fig. 161 Opening showing the end of the calendar, and a formerly blank folio filled with prayers in English and Latin by an early owner. London, British Library, Harley Ms. 2966, fol. 7v-8r. Image in the Public Domain.

Cambridge, UL, Ms. Ee.1.14, an English book of hours I discussed briefly above, contains a bifolium of prayers to the Virgin added to the end of the Hours of the Virgin (Cambridge, UL, Ms. Ee.1.14, fol. 51–52; fig. 160). One can immediately see that the bifolium was added, because 51r is ruled in a strong red pen, whereas the rest of the Hours of the Virgin (ending with 50v) was ruled in more subtle brown. The new scribe has maintained similar ruling size, text block, and letter size, and a similar textualis script, although he has decorated the gold, one-line initials with green ink that does not appear in the original parts of the book. He has tried to make the transition as smooth as possible. The motivation for adding extra physical material was to accommodate extra verses for the Salve Regina, which fill 51r. He then completes the rest of the bifolium with further prayers to the Virgin.

Above I discussed how manuscripts made in the Southern Netherlands for English export often had extra space in them. But when there wasn’t enough space, the scrivener could add extra substrate. That is what happened in Harley 2966, another Southern Netherlandish manuscript used in England, to which a fifteenth-century English owner added a bifolium. Although there was plenty of blank space throughout this manuscript, the owner chose to have it taken apart and have a bifolium added to it, which wraps around the calendar, in order to create some blank parchment near the beginning of the book. The English owner(s) added texts to this fresh space (fig. 161).[56] A prayer in English copied in green ink appears at the top, followed by a prayer in Latin to the Virgin copied in brown ink. Owners may have commissioned scriveners to add these texts, as they have both been written in confident professional hands. A third text is slightly later and provides not a prayer but a piece of family history of the sort often inscribed in or around the calendar as a way of extending and personalizing the calendar’s timekeeping function. I had suggested earlier that the blank space in the imported books of hours stimulated a desire to fill the space with personalized texts. Here the English owner felt that desire so strongly that he or she added even more space for personalization.

Fig. 162 Female patron and St. Mary Magdalene at her hermitage near Baune, devotional diptych added to a book of hours. Stockholm, National Library of Sweden, MS, A 233, fol. 1v-2r. Image © National Library of Sweden

A different motivation was at play in the pilgrim’s hours introduced above (Stockholm A.233). Added parchment sheets feature a male owner, probably Jan de Trompes, who recorded his identity as a pilgrim within the pages.[57] This manuscript also has an added bifolium at the front of the manuscript (fig. 162). Half of the bifolium contains an image representing a woman, in half-length, in prayer directed to a representation of Mary Magdalene, who appears on the other side of the fold. This bifolium forms a diptych that shows a female sitter in half-length praying in perpetuity to Mary Magdalene. This saint was said to have taken up a hermitage at Beaune (France), where she, covered in hair, was elevated daily to heaven for her aural sustenance.[58] The sitter may be Mary Madeleine Cordier, Jan de Trompes’ second wife, as Mary Magdalene would have been her name saint. Mary Madeleine Cordier died in 1510, and her husband survived until 1516. Perhaps he gave her the book of hours at some point during their marriage, and she had it augmented in order to make her mark on the family prayerbook. This diptych has been inserted into the book as its first quire. Although her husband had made extensive additions to the book to display himself and his piety, she does not disrupt the quire structure, but layers her identity on top of his by placing her image at the very front of the book.

Adding a quire was a way to incorporate images and texts into a manuscript that had been omitted or had not yet been written or become popular when the manuscript was new. One book made in the eastern part of the Northern Netherlands, probably for a female Franciscan tertiary or Poor Clare, exemplifies this kind of addition (Paris, BnF, Cab. des Estampes, Ea 6 Rés).[59] This manuscript was copied on paper, and the copyist has illustrated the manuscript by pasting engravings into it, as Ursula Weekes has discussed.[60] It may have been collectively owned and used, or may have had a number of owners/keepers within the convent who made adjustments to it. One of these adjustments involved adding a bifolium of texts, now fol. 2–3. It contains a heavily indulgenced prayer based on the words from the INRI titulus, the piece of wood that Pilate was said to have nailed to the top of Christ’s cross and that stated in three languages that he was “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.”

The prayer announces:

Item, anyone who kneels before this Title of Triumph and prays with devotion in honor of the passion and death of Jesus Christ on the cross, with five Pater Nosters and five Ave Marias and one Credo, he will earn all of the indulgence that is to be found at the Church of Santa Croce in Rome, which indulgence has been tallied and counted by Gregory the Great and other popes, who have confirmed and increased it, one after the other. Item, Pope Sixtus IV gave, for the sake of reverence, 24,000 years’ mortal sin, to whomever speaks the titulus in three languages, and to anyone who speaks it on a Friday, when one hears our lord’s death sounding and sings Tenebre, from that each person earns 80,000 years’ indulgence. Anyone who speaks it with devotion who is experiencing real sadness and pain will find in it merciful redemption. In this Church of Sta Croce, there is an indulgence every day of 48 years, as many quaternions, and one third of the forgiveness of all sins. Item, the Holy Father and Pope Sylvester, Gregory, Alexander, Nicholaus, Honorius and Paglagius have given anyone who visits this church 1000 years. During Lent, Advent, and in the other high feasts, the indulgence is doubled. On the days listed below, all of the forgiveness from the pain and guilt of all sins is given, as in a jubilee year:

– on whit Friday

– on the day of the finding of the True Cross

– on the day of the raising of the holy cross

– on the day after St. Gregory’s day (that is the 12th day of March). On that day the church is blessed.

– A few days after St. Gregory’s day, that is after the vigil of St. Benedict, which is the 20th day of March. On that day the chapel called Jerusalem is blessed.

– on the second holy day [after] St. Cesarius’s and St. Anastacius’s day, who are lying bodily in this church. St. Cesarius’s day is a most holy day, and St. Anastacius on the third day before St. Bartholomeus day.

Anyone who speaks, on the above-mentioned days before the title and with devotion, five Pater Nosters and five Ave Marias and one Credo will have forgiveness from all sins, from pain and guilt. Pope Sixtus IV has confirmed this indulgence, and after him, Pope Alexander VI. And so it continues through the year that a person earns 12,000 years’ indulgence from mortal sin and two times that amount of venial sin.

– On Wednesdays and Fridays, the Holy Father, the pope, has given 24,000 years’ indulgence. The faithful souls in purgatory may also earn this indulgence, if someone speaks five Pater Nosters and five Ave Marias and one Credo for them. If someone is too ill to kneel, he may pray the Pater Nosters sitting or lying down. Anyone who reads the following prayer in front of the martyrdom of our lord, for something for which he should burn in purgatory until final judgment day, God will transform it for him [into a lesser sentence]. I thank you, merciful dear lord Jesus Christ that you endured your martyrdom fully and stayed on the cross patiently and hung on the cross to the death and spoke sadly and cried bitterly and were completely broken. And that God let your blood out so that you mildly died a bitter death for my benefit. Dear lord, now I appeal to you by the depths of your endless mercy, I appeal to that heavenly kingdom that is synonymous with you. [Paris, BnF, Cab. des Estampes, Ea 6 Rés, fol. 2–3][61]

The copyist has inserted this bifolium, with its enormous and complicated indulgence, into a spot near the front of the manuscript. Although the manuscript may not be in its original order, and this bifolium may not be in its original place, clearly this bifolium forms a stand-alone unit. (It is currently near the calendar, which the indulgence text elucidates.) The owner adamantly wanted to include this indulgence, which has 570 words and was too long to be squeezed into any of the blank space in the manuscript. Including it required adding more physical material. As Ursula Weekes has ably discussed, the women who made this manuscript further personalized it by pasting hand-colored prints into it to serve as “miniatures” and even painted borders around the prints to further embellish them and make the images seem more like fancy, bespoke miniatures. Additionally, the sisters must have added this textual bifolium, one that accommodates text that refers to the women’s particular church and the relics it held and the indulgences available there on various days of the year. It mentions popes Sixtus IV (1471–84) and Alexander VI (1492–1503), thereby providing a terminus post quem for this added bifolium on 1492. While the sisters made this book for their own use, and therefore personalized it from the beginning, this indulgence was apparently added to the book after the indulgence was ratified.

Time and again, the texts that prayerbook owners desired to add were those containing indulgences. Such is also the case with Leiden, UB, BPL 3073, a book of hours in Dutch made in Utrecht or Delft in the 1420s. Its calendar has been lost, and the first folio reveals a highly worn incipit for the Hours of the Virgin, which suggests that the calendar had disappeared early in the book’s career, as it wasn’t there to protect the prayer text during the period of its heaviest use (fig. 163).[62]It has therefore been modified several times before it received its current binding, which is an early sixteenth-century brown leather, blind-stamped binding made in the Netherlands.

Texts in the original parts of the manuscript comprise various offices. Their incipits have plenty of decoration but offer no indulgences (fig. 164).[63] Toward the end of the fifteenth century (or possibly when the manuscript was rebound for the final time), an owner added a bifolium to the end of the book (Leiden, UB, BPL 3073, fol. 191–193; fig. 165).[64] This is written in a later script and represents an added prayer. According to these red words, the more the votary reads the prayer, the more sin it will eradicate. I contend that one of the reasons that owners inserted more physical material into their books (e.g., parchment bifolia) was to accommodate indulgenced texts and prayers that would secure their position in the afterlife.

Fig. 166 Parchment diptych with the measurements of Christ’s length and side wound, inserted into a French book of hours. Paisley, Renfrew District Museum and Art Gallery, Ms. 1, fol. 13–14 forming a diptych. Photo © Author

Another way they could sanctify their books was by inserting metric relics painted on parchment. The owner of a French book of hours has rebound the book to accommodate a parchment bifolium showing the wound in Christ’s side, and the length of Christ’s body (fig. 166).[65] These abstract shapes are enveloped in explanatory texts, in the form of short stanzas of rhyming French doggerel. They indicate that however humble the painted forms, they are true measurements of the savior, meaning that they are secondary contact relics of Jesus. The object itself folds so that the images and texts are on the inside, while the outside is blank. It forms a self-protecting autonomous unit, which, when inserted into a book of hours, brings that book closer to the body of Christ.

Adding New Openings to Old


[LEFT]: Fig. 167 Monk praying for the release of souls from purgatory, full-page miniature made as part of a diptych and inserted into a book of hours. The Hague, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Ms. 133 D 5, fol. 86v-87r. Image © Koninklijke Bibliotheek—the National Library of The Netherlands
[RIGHT]: Fig. 168 Opening in a book of hours, showing the original parchment and script (on the right side of the gutter) and the replaced incipit folio with text recopied in a different script (on the left side of the gutter). The Hague, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Ms. 133 D 5, fol. 87v-88r. Image © Koninklijke Bibliotheek—the National Library of The Netherlands
[CENTER]: Fig. 169 The pricking along the outer edge of the bifolium only occurs on the added folios. The Hague, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Ms. 133 D 5, detail of fol. 86–87. Image © Koninklijke Bibliotheek—the National Library of The Netherlands

A medieval owner of HKB, Ms. 133 D 5, a book of hours made in South Holland, was so worried about purgatory that he commissioned a full-page miniature showing souls being released from it (fig. 167). The cleric depicted in the image probably does not represent the medieval owner, for the figure lacks specifying details, and furthermore, clerics would be unlikely to use a book of hours, which was really in the purview of the laity. Instead, a late medieval patron could have ordered an image depicting a monk praying for his or her soul, for the image represents the fulfillment of another transaction: perhaps the owner was a layperson who had commissioned prayers from a local monastery. This owner did not simply add the miniatures, but made more complicated interventions: he or she added entire bifolia. That is, the opening folios were changed to make new, and presumably more lavish, incipits. Replacing two folios instead of one at each incipit was done in order to make the new full-page miniatures match their respective facing folios. A book maker has therefore cut out the existing incipit pages and replaced them with entire bifolia. This technique has allowed the book maker to achieve entire openings decorated in a unified style.

Only when one turns the page does one confront the rupture in style (fig. 168). There one can see the original script on the right side, and on the left the new script, which has been inscribed on the added bifolium. In order to the replace the physical material, the scribe had to carefully calculate the words so that the texts would join up. The added bifolia are thicker than the other pages in the book; this causes the book to spring open at these pages, where the parchment is less supple. When he or she made these adjustments, the supple parchment of the original book was not available, and the new components had to be made with coarser material. These stiff bifolia also have disconcerting pricking along the outer edge, which the original folios lack (fig. 169). By choosing to replace entire openings—entire two-page-spreads—the owner was quite clearly asserting that the decoration of his book mattered and that creating a visual unity across the entire opening was important enough for him to discard a perfectly good text page and remake it in a different style just to achieve this effect. The owner of this manuscript had the same desire as the owner of Beinecke 434 (discussed earlier): to add full-page images but maintain visual coherence across the entire opening. Whereas the miniaturist of Beinecke 434 preserved the existing parchment and simply painted over the old borders—which involved taking the book apart, and painting the new borders while the old quire was out of its binding, adding the full-page miniature, and rebinding—the craftsperson responsible for the changes to HKB, Ms. 133 D 5 did not rework any existing parchment, but rather replaced components.

Adding One or More Full Quires


[LEFT]: Fig. 170 Cistercian breviary, made in the thirteenth century, photographed from the bottom to isolate a quire added in 1491. Perth, St. John’s Kirk, Ms. 3. Photo © Author
[CENTER]: Fig. 171 Opening in a Cistercian breviary, with original thirteenth-century parts script and parchment on the left side of the gutter, and an added fifteenth-century quire on the right side of the gutter. Perth, St. John’s Kirk, Ms. 3. Photo © Author
[RIGHT]: Fig. 172 Folio in a Cistercian breviary showing two campaigns of medieval foliation. Perth, St. John’s Kirk, Ms. 3, fol. 155r. Photo © Author

A thirteenth-century example will reveal why it was so difficult to force manuscripts created before the modular method to accommodate new texts. Ms. 3 in the Kirk in Perth (Scotland) is a Cistercian breviary made in the thirteenth century with additions made in 1491.[66] Namely, fol. 52–58 forms an added quire (fig. 170). Clearly, this material was added in order to accommodate a new feast: that of Corpus Christi.[67] Its scribe has attempted to copy the earlier writing style but has not quite mastered it. His heavily ruled parchment also contrasts sharply with the much more subtle rulings of the thirteenth-century lines. These aesthetics aside, his structural problem was that the previous text did not finish neatly at the end of fol. 51v, and the reader would have to skip ahead, to fol. 59r, to read the last few lines of the text. This would have been impractical and inconvenient. Instead, the fifteenth-century scribe copied the last few lines of the previous text before starting the Corpus Christi (fig. 171). The fifteenth-century scribe easily fit the new text onto the new quire and then had some space left over on fol. 58v, on which he inscribed a sermon attributed to St. Ambrose. Where the thirteenth-century script resumes on fol. 59r, the scribe has then had to erase several lines of text, for he had already inscribed these at the beginning of the new quire. Thus, in order to accommodate the feast of Corpus Christi in approximately the correct place in the book, the scribe had to make adjustments at both ends of the added quire, scraping and recopying text and finding a short text to serve as a quire filler. In the fifteenth century book makers obviated such problems by simply beginning new texts on fresh quires and then treating them as modular units. Incidentally, adding a quire disrupted the foliation from that point onward, and the fifteenth-century scribe added foliation in brown above the original foliation in red (fig. 172). Fifteenth-century scribes sidestepped this problem by simply not foliating the manuscript; very few fifteenth-century prayerbooks, books of hours, and breviaries are foliated. It’s as if scribes were expecting future adjustments.

Calendars are never foliated, but that is not why I suspect that it was the calendar that gave book makers the idea to start making books out of packets, or pre-assembled parts. Rather, it’s because calendars were made in separate operations. In most (semi-) liturgical books, the calendar is ruled separately from the rest of the book. It has a different number of lines per folio, and usually several columns. As the calendar had to be made in a separate operation, book makers in the Southern Netherlands may have begun specializing in making nothing but calendars. A book of hours made in Ghent or Bruges (HKB, Ms. 135 G 10), discussed above, was given to someone in the eastern Netherlands. It was at that time that someone probably removed the West Flemish calendar and replaced it with one for the diocese of Cologne. Below I give further examples of manuscripts that travelled far from where they were made. Their new owners found it easier to swap out the calendar than to rub out some saints and add others to make the calendar relevant for local feasts. Calendars could be exchanged because they were made on separate units.

The Gouda Missal (HKB, Ms. 135 H 45), presented several times above, also has an added quire, namely the canon (fol. 101–106). A full-page image depicting the Crucifixion, discussed above, initiates the new quire (fig. 124). Not only did the owners replace the image, but they replaced the entire quire containing the canon of the mass. Like a calendar, a canon was ruled and written differently from the rest of the manuscript and made in a different campaign of work. Whereas a missal contains multiple texts a priest would use when performing various kinds of masses over the course of the year, the canon of the mass was the text that was read at every mass. Copyists arranged the missal such that this text would fall at the very center of the book, so that the book would be open at its midpoint and balanced for this most important part of the ceremony. They also often copied this part of the book in larger script, so that the priest could read it easily from the distance of an arm’s length away. Because the priest picked the book up and kissed the Crucifixion, which would also cause wear and tear to the binding, and then often sprinkled the altar with holy water, and flipped through these folios more quickly (because of the large letter size), this part of the book wore out most quickly.

Fig. 173 First folio of the Gouda Missal (from original part of the manuscript). The Hague, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Ms. 135 H 45, fol. 10r. Image © Koninklijke Bibliotheek—the National Library of The Netherlands

As a canon is essential to the manuscript’s function as a service book, the missal must have originally had one. This presumed canon would have been decorated in the same style as the other original parts of the manuscript, with red and blue initials and penwork (fig. 173). Perhaps it wore out from use, so that the old one was removed and replaced by a clean new one in the late fifteenth or early sixteenth century. When the Fraterhuis at Gouda was commissioned to replace the canon, they did so with the latest technology: they printed an image inside the initial, directly on the parchment folio, with a woodblock. They were on the forefront of printing technologies in the Netherlands, and they applied their skills in a novel fashion here[68] (fig. 174).[69]

Although some missals and service books were updated, it is in the realm of private prayerbooks and books of hours that owners often made considerable adjustments by adding entire quires. This adjustability was both a cause and an effect of the modular method of producing books. Not only was the possibility within reach, but there was considerable pressure to do so. The related production fact—that book components were increasingly being made remotely from the consumer—led owners to seek even more adjustments, as the remote producers had not perfectly anticipated their desires.

A book of hours made for use in the diocese of Utrecht ca. 1495 has a quire added to the front, before the calendar (HKB, Ms. 135 G 19). The added component accommodates a prayer to Christ, a prayer to Job, and a full-page image of a man kneeling in veneration before St. Jerome, who is in turn venerating a crucifix with the Corpus Christi in a landscape (fig. 175).[70] While the added section before the calendar is generally in the same style as the rest of the book, with similar scribal hand and image style, it is clear for two reasons that this first quire was an afterthought. First, it is highly unusual for such prayers to precede the calendar. Second, the image, placed as it is on the right side of the opening, breaks the normal page layout.

While it’s clear that the image was designed for its position (as the flower border is thicker on the outside than the inside), this sheet breaks the hierarchy of decoration established throughout the rest of the manuscript, whereby full-page miniatures appear on the left side of the opening and accompany gilt initials on the opposite recto. Indeed, the original scribe, illuminator, or planner establishes the hierarchy of decoration, and then later additions either conform with or violate it. In this first quire, the text, the image, and their layout are therefore quite eccentric, and must have been highly motivated by the man in the picture, presumably the patron. He wanted more of himself in the book, including a full-page miniature depicting himself in a position of prayer, in perpetuity. He apparently felt himself aligned with St. Jerome, who pounded his own chest with a rock, and with Job on his dung heap. This first added quire is his testament to his long, possibly self-inflicted suffering.

Other prayerbooks with added quires similarly testify to their owners’ feelings and desires. A book of hours, made originally in Delft around 1440 but then updated later in the fifteenth century, has a quire added to the end of the book, the other most common place to insert something (HKB, Ms. 74 G 35, fol. 161v-162r; fig. 176).[71] The original parts of the manuscript were fitted with simple grisaille miniatures to mark the major text openings (fig. 177).[72] These original openings are also marked by painted decorated with gold baguettes. However, the added quire, which includes fol. 162r, has a different kind of border decoration, and the accompanying image is not a grisaille, but rather a full-color image. This suggests the following order of operations: begin with a basic book of hours; add grisaille miniatures; later add indulgenced prayers with full-page miniatures from another source. Considering these additions in layers reveals several attempts at fulfilling desire.

The original part of 74 G 35, which represents a bare-bones book of hours, contains the Hours of the Virgin (fol. 15–53); the Hours of the Cross (fol. 54–59): Seven Penitential Psalms (fol. 60–79); and various Suffrages (fol. 80–104), and the Vigil for the Dead (105–141r). But the added quire (fol. 143–163) contains texts of a different nature:

143–145: Adoro te (7-verse version, indulgenced)

146r: indulgenced prayer to Virgin

146–149: non-indulgenced prayer to Virgin

150–152: Seven Last Words of Christ

152–155: Prayers to the Sacrament

156: Prayer to be read during elevation, indulgenced

157: Indulgenced prayer

158–160: O intemerata

161: blank

162–163: Prayer to the Face of Christ (indulgenced)

What is clear from this list is that most of the prayers that the early owner added were those that carried indulgences. By adding three quires to the end of the book, the owner made space for these prayers, which transformed the manuscript from a book of hours to a vehicle for purgatorial remission. As I have shown through research involving densitometry (measuring the amount of dirt on the page, as a way to indirectly measure intensity of reading), the added sections in both HKB, Ms. 74 G 35, and in HKB, Ms. 135 G 19 were among the most heavily used parts of the book. This is not surprising, as it stands to reason that an owner who would go to the trouble and expense to add particular texts would strongly desire those texts and then spend a disproportionally high amount of time with them. Owners of prayerbooks added not only individual images and prayers, but also entire groups of indulgenced texts.


[LEFT]: Fig. 178 Opening in a book of hours from Delft, written in Latin but with rubrics in Dutch. The owner has filled the quire with birth dates. Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin—Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Ms. Germ. Oct. 89, fol. 60v-61r. Image © Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin
[RIGHT]: Fig. 179 Opening in a book of hours from Delft, showing an added module with the Hours of the Cross, and a prayer to be read before an image of the Virgin inscribed as a quire filler. Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin—Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Ms. Germ. Oct. 89, fol. 120v-121r. Image © Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin

The stratigraphy of a book of hours now in Berlin (Berlin, SPK, Germ. Oct. 89) clearly shows layers of hopes and fears barnacled onto a core manuscript.[73] That core was a book of hours written around the 1460s in the Northern Netherlands. These were written in Latin, but had some rubrics in the vernacular, which is a sign that the first owner found the Latin words more efficacious, but needed the Dutch rubrics to guide him through the book (fig. 178). Around the original parts the decoration is typical of Delft. One can see from the opening at the Seven Penitential Psalms (fol. 61r) that the book had contained blank folios, which the later owners used as a place to record family data. Specifically, the Van der Marck family of Reckem (Belgium) began adding these notes in 1525, more than a half-century after the book was first produced.

Of interest to the present discussion are the quires added to the beginning and end of the book in separate campaigns of work, not necessarily by members of the Van der Marck family. Clearly the series of owners considered the manuscript an expandable item, which could accordion outwards to accommodate desired prayers. One of the added sections in Oct. 89 (fol. 121–130), made around 1500, contains the Hours of the Cross (fig. 179). Abandoning the Latin, the new owner has opted for a vernacular version of the text, and has chosen to purchase the quire from an atelier that specialized in painting “Dutch strewn borders,” which were bright and inoffensive. The script is amateurish. One can easily imagine that a medieval person, with a rudimentary training as a scribe and very low overhead, would start a business making quires such as this one, either as stand-alone booklets, or for purchasers to add to their existing book of hours.

The quire added at the beginning of the manuscript—before the calendar—provides insight into the fears and habits of one of the original owners. This quire (fol. 1–7) has provided space for a variety of texts and marks, including pen trials, notes of ownership, lone letters, once essential but now illegible notes, and small metal objects, which have left their offsets in the pliable parchment (fig. 180).


[LEFT]: Fig. 180 First folio in an added section of a book of hours whose core was made in Delft, with offsets of small round metal objects. Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin—Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Ms. Germ. Oct. 89, fol. 1r. Image © Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin
[CENTER]: Fig. 181 Folio in an added section of a book of hours whose core was made in Delft, with a prayer to the Trinity, and needle holes from formerly affixed objects. Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin—Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Ms. Germ. Oct. 89, fol. 2r. Image © Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin
[RIGHT]: Fig. 182 Folio in an added section of a book of hours whose core was made in Delft, with an indulgenced prayer to the arma Christi. Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin—Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Ms. Germ. Oct. 89, fol. 3r. Image © Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin


[LEFT]: Fig. 183 Opening in an added section of a book of hours whose core was made in Delft, with the continuation of an indulgenced prayer to the arma Christi, revealing dirt and fingerprints from heavy handling. Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin—Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Ms. Germ. Oct. 89, fol. 3v-4r. Image © Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin
[CENTER]: Fig. 184 Folio in an added section of a book of hours whose core was made in Delft, with an indulgenced prayer to the Virgin in Sole. Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin—Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Ms. Germ. Oct. 89, fol. 5v-6r. Image © Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin
[RIGHT]: Fig. 185 Folio in a book of hours whose core was made in Delft: a full-page miniature depicting Christ carrying the cross, painted by a miniaturist in Delft. Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin—Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Ms. Germ. Oct. 89, fol. 44v. Image © Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin

Additionally, this added quire contains:

1v-2v: a prayer to the Trinity (fig. 181);

3r-4v: the verses of St. Gregory, with nine verses and an indulgence for 92,000 years (fig. 182 and 183)

4v-5r: a prayer attributed to St. Bernard, to the Virgin

5v: a prayer to the Virgin in sole, with an indulgence for 11,000 years

5v-6r: a prayer to the Virgin (fig. 184)

6r-6v: a prayer to St. Anne “with many indulgences”

6v: a prayer to one’s personal angel

As one can see from this list, three of the added prayers carried large indulgences. Two further prayers, those to the Trinity and to one’s personal angel, promised personal protection. Indulgenced prayers do not appear in the original core of the manuscript, and the book’s owner around 1500, when this quire was added, apparently deemed this a shortcoming that had to be addressed. Even though the book was already teeming with images, including full-page miniatures to mark the canonical hours within the Hours of the Virgin, such as the Carrying of the Cross on fol. 44v (fig. 185), the owner considered it wanting. Adding a quire of indulgenced prayers to the beginning of the book helped to turn the book of hours into a vehicle for eternal transcendence. Moreover, as one can see from the dirt ground into the folios in this added section, the owner paid particular attention to the newly added prayers: they served an immediate need and were used heavily.


[LEFT]: Fig. 186 Folio in the original part of the manuscript, copied and decorated in South Holland. Bruges, Stadsbibliotheek, Ms. 334, fol. 65r. Image © Bruges, Stadsbibliotheek, all rights reserved.
[RIGHT]: Fig. 187 Folio from a quire added and decorated around 1500 in the Southern Netherlands. Bruges, Stadsbibliotheek, Ms. 334, fol. 183v. Image © Bruges, Stadsbibliotheek, all rights reserved.

A book of hours introduced above, Bruges, Stadsbibliotheek, Ms. 334, was originally made in South Holland, and the core manuscript has red and blue penwork typical of South Holland, possibly Delft. However, the final two quires of the manuscript, beginning on fol. 183, were added later and have been inscribed by a different hand at the end of the fifteenth century. While the core of the manuscript was made in South Holland in the third quarter of the fifteenth century (fig. 186), the added quires were made around 1500 in the Southern Netherlands with less ornate red pen decoration (fig. 187). Such geographical layering in this manuscript suggests that the first or second owner had either moved south or sold it to someone in the south.

Not only is the decoration different in the two added quires of Bruges, Stadsbibliotheek, Ms. 334, but so is the style of the script, the accent of the vernacular language, and the type of prayer. The original core of the manuscript contains the prayers one would expect to find in a book of hours, including the Penitential Psalms, and the Long Hours of the Cross. Instead of a normal long Hours of the Virgin, it has a highly abbreviated version, in which the incipit for each hour presents the events from the life of the Virgin as a rhyming couplet. This core also contains the “Hundred Articles of Henry Suso,” a text strongly associated with female religious, and several prayers to be said before an image of the Virgin. The later owner added: a prayer to the Virgin of the Sun, with an indulgence of 71,000 years given by pope Sixtus IV (fol. 183r-190v); another hand added a prayer to “the sweet name of Jesus in the sun,” which pope Sixtus IV indulgenced for 11,000 years (fol. 191r-191v); and another prayer to the Virgin of the Sun, this time an indulgence by Pope Sixtus for 11,000 years (fol. 191v). As Sixtus IV only became pope in 1476, these additions must postdate that year. Clearly what drove the new owner to add quires to the book was the strong desire to include the newest and most heavily indulgenced prayers available.

Time and again, the texts that owners added to existing books of hours were those that carried more indulgences. This holds true for a book of hours from Leiden in Middle Dutch (HKB, Ms. 76 G 13). The original parts of the manuscript, made around 1490, have been inscribed in the “spiky script” of Leiden, and they have blue acanthus border decoration that also typifies production from that city (fig. 188).[74] The full-page miniatures have a linear, graphic quality in which much of the naked parchment is left exposed. They might even be characterized as drawings heightened with wash.

Its original makers conceived of HKB, Ms. 76 G 13 as a series of the simplest textual units marked by a splash of color at the major openings. That the version of the Vigil for the Dead has only three lessons, rather than the more rigorous nine, suggests that it was made for a lay person, that is, someone who is not praying for others’ souls as a livelihood. It was perhaps this owner, or the manuscript’s second owner not long thereafter, who added four quires and two full-page miniatures to the end of the manuscript after the Vigil for the Dead (HKB, Ms. 76 G 13, fol. 98–123). A date of ca. 1500 for these additions is reasonable. These have also been inscribed in a spikey hand, but not in the same hand as the original part of the manuscript. This suggests that the owner(s) lived in Leiden, purchased the manuscript there, and also had it updated there. These additions, as one might now expect, contain highly indulgenced prayers and begin with the Verses of St. Gregory, prefaced by a relevant full-page image of his vision (fig. 189).[75] Popular at the very end of the fifteenth century and beginning of the sixteenth, the nine-verse version of the Verses of St. Gregory promised enormous indulgences. According to the rubric, the suppliant would receive 92,000 years plus 24,000 years plus 80,000 days’ indulgence, as confirmed “by many popes” (HKB 76 G 13, fol. 99r). Another prayer in this added section promises 7,000 years’ indulgence, confirmed by Pope Boniface, for anyone who reads a short prayer in front of a crucifix (HKB 76 G 13, fol. 100v). This section of added material also includes another prayer to the Cross, marked by another full-page miniature depicting Christ on the Cross (fig. 190).[76]

Anonymous painters, called the Masters of the Suffrages for convenience, supplied the two full-page miniatures embedded in this added section. These artists were probably active in Leiden around 1500.[77] They seem to have specialized in making miniatures as upgrades for existing manuscripts, as is the case with the current example. Their bold, saturated colors contrast sharply with the watery tonalities of the painter who supplied the images in the original parts of the book. These painters often construct “strewn flower” borders and do so in a formulaic way, filling the bottom corner with a large red rose in both cases. They show the flowers on a yellow background, which was much cheaper to paint than the gold backgrounds of the Southern Netherlandish miniaturists they are ultimately imitating. Their bold colors and designs must have appealed to a certain kind of urban consumer who wanted to make his or her book more showy and also more useful for new devotional tastes. Like the Masters of the Dark Eyes, discussed later, they seem to have also worked with scribes to make word-image ensembles with which owners could upgrade existing manuscripts.


[LEFT]: Fig. 191 Beginning of an added section of an enhanced book of hours. Cambridge, University Library, Ms. Ee.1.14, fol. 103r. Image © Cambridge University Library, all rights reserved.
[RIGHT]: Fig. 192 Folio in an enhanced book of hours, with a personalised prayer for “Nicholas,” in which the name has been crossed out by a later user and replaced with the initial R. Cambridge, University Library, Ms. Ee.1.14, fol. 120r. Image © Cambridge University Library, all rights reserved.

An English book of hours introduced above also has entire quires with indulgences added to it, though these were modified over time to personalize the book (Cambridge, UL, Ms. Ee.1.14).[78] The original core of the manuscript was made in London around 1405. Some time later a man whose name was evidently Nicholas was not satisfied with his book of hours when it came into his possession, as around 1440 he added several quires, which comprise fol. 51–52 and fol. 103–139. These additions were probably made in or around Bury St. Edmunds, and their style differs from that in the original parts of the book. Old and new sections appear side-by-side at fol. 103r (fig. 191). The additions were executed with a different style of script and decoration (complete with green penwork), on parchment ruled in bright red ink, whereas the original parts of the book were ruled in subtle brown.

The later owner was apparently disturbed by the lack of certain texts, such as the Commendacio animarium that initiates this added section, and sought to correct this lack. Into this packet of quires, he also added (or commissioned from a scribe) an indulgenced prayer personalized for himself: his name, Nicholas, has been worked into the body of the prayer text (fig. 192). A later (third?) owner crossed out the name of Nicholas and inserted his own initial, R, in the margin. Both layers of additions—the full quires of physical material, and the insertion of the letter R—were made to personalize the book to the new owner(s), and to turn the book into a machine for the salvation of specific souls.

In general, additions to prayerbooks were made to adjust the function of the book. Here I analyze a manuscript that is predominately a picture book, to which someone added more texts in several campaigns of work, including quires of indulgenced texts. The manuscript is a tiny prayerbook containing 66 full-page paintings by the Master of the Morgan Infancy Cycle (LBL, Add. 50005). The Master of the Morgan Infancy Cycle, who is named for a manuscript now in the Morgan Library and Museum in New York, was active in the second decade of the fifteenth century, when the core of this manuscript was written and painted.[79] Add. 50005 is one of the most fully illuminated prayerbooks made in the Northern Netherlands before the Master of Catherine of Cleves. It contains imagery that is iconographically creative as well as highly expressive (fig. 193).[80] However the original texts were a bit sparse. This evidence, alongside the pictorial evidence, suggests that the book was used as a didactic booklet for a child, who would have chiefly used its pictures, which are each labeled at the bottom with inscriptions in red; the book also contains the simple texts taught to children: the Pater Noster, Ave Maria, and Credo (fig. 194).[81] The presence of these texts, in the original hand of the core manuscript, suggests that the book original functioned as a teaching tool to someone learning to read.

Later in the fifteenth century its owner augmented it. He or she added (or commissioned the addition of) new texts. The scribe first filled the backs of the miniatures, as well as the remaining blank parchment at the end of the core of the manuscript, and also added two quires of extra parchment beyond that. This means that the texts at the end of the manuscript (fol. 159v-179v) have been added chiefly in order to accommodate suffrages and indulgenced texts. Specifically, the added texts supply the manuscript with suffrages to various saints: Erasmus, Barbara, Catherine, the Eleven Thousand Virgins, Agatha, Stephen, Laurence, Jeroen, and Francis. This list of saints, which the new owner went to some length to include, may help to reveal who used the book. He or she probably lived in the County of Holland, where St. Jeroen was venerated, and may have had a Franciscan confessor. It is possible, for example, that the later fifteenth-century owner belonged to a community of tertiaries in a Franciscan milieu, in which Erasmus, Barbara, Catherine, Ursula, or Agatha was the patron saint. Tellingly, this person also added the seven-verse version of the Verses of St. Gregory (with an indulgence of 40,028 years and 40 days; fig. 195);[82] and a prayer to be said at the elevation of the Eucharist during mass, worth 2000 years’ indulgence (LBL, Add. 50005, fol. 168r-169v and fol. 169v-171r, respectively). The late fifteenth-century owner, in other words, updated the manuscript with prayers to saints that must have held some personal interest, and with two heavily indulgenced prayers.

Here is one scenario that explains why the book looks the way it does: the manuscript was made for a child to aid in his mastery of reading and understanding the tenets of Christianity. When the child reached a certain age, he (or his confessor) wanted to increase his exposure to other texts, and therefore had the manuscript augmented. After all, the manuscript had a great deal of blank space available, on the backs of all of the miniatures. A scribe was commissioned not only to fill in these spaces, but also to add more material to the book, in the form of several quires, all filled with prayers, especially indulgenced ones.

A similar scenario may have been in play with a prayerbook made in the Southern Netherlands in the mid-fifteenth century (Harley 3828). That manuscript was apparently made for a young girl in order to learn to read, as it begins with a full-page miniature depicting an all-female classroom, facing the inscription of the alphabet in capital and lower-case letters (fig. 196).[83] The manuscript also contains other texts for a beginning learner, such as a rhyming prayer-poem, for which each stanza is dedicated to one of the arma Christi, pictured at the top of the folio (fig. 197).[84] These are easy to read and memorize (written as they are in rhyming vernacular), and they have been copied with almost no abbreviations that could have tripped up the young learner. Several quires were later added to the manuscript, including some with long rubrics and indulgences. These were written by a different hand in a different style, with more abbreviations and not images. It is possible that these were added when the child had matured, had advanced as a reader, and had entered the age when she could sin, and was therefore in need of indulgences to wipe the slate clean.

Owners also added components to a book in order to specify a foreign-made product. This occurred in England, as I have detailed above, but also in Scotland, which in the fifteenth century produced few luxury manuscripts. Scots of means often chose to buy manuscripts not from England, but rather from the Netherlands and France, Scotland’s trading partners. Trade routes across the English Channel conveyed not only bulky items, such as wool, but also luxury items. In the act of trading commodities, parties also traded ideas, and the exact nature of those routes—with all the tangible and intangible items that flowed along them—was governed by political and market forces, as well as geography. Towards the end of the fifteenth century the harbor around Bruges silted up, and it lost its edge as a trading city. Antwerp on the River Schelde overtook it, and also became the center of art production. While Antwerp was the center of the printing industry in the Southern Netherlands, it also produced manuscripts, as did nearby Malines. It was probably from one of these two cities that James Brown, dean of Aberdeen, commissioned a manuscript prayerbook (Edinburgh, NLS, Ms. 10270).[85] From his home in Scotland, he might have used an agent to order the book, as he communicated some rather specific requests. The book contains a computational circle for calculating the date of Easter beginning in 1499, the probable date of production. It also contains a calendar with the obits of James Brown’s parents, Elizabeth Lauder (11 June 1494) and Master Robert Brown (23 December 1460), an indulgenced prayer (the verses of St. Gregory) and a thaumaturgic prayer (extracts from St. John’s Gospel); the Penitential psalms and litany, and the Office of the Dead. Everything in this book is about James Brown praying for the souls of his parents.


[LEFT]: Fig. 198 Folio in the Prayer book of James Brown, with a full-page miniature depicting James Brown presented to the Virgin’s altar. Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland, Ms. 10270, fol. 17v. Image © National Library of Scotland, all rights reserved.
[CENTER]: Fig. 199 Folio in the Prayer book of James Brown, with text added to existing parchment near the end of the manuscript. Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland, Ms. 10270, fol. 151r. Image © National Library of Scotland, all rights reserved.
[RIGHT]: Fig. 200 Folio in the Prayer book of James Brown, with text added to existing parchment near the end of the manuscript. Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland, Ms. 10270, fol. 151v. Image © National Library of Scotland, all rights reserved.

Ms. 10270 contains four miniatures: James Brown presented by St. Augustine before an altar to Mary (fol. 17v; fig. 198); the Virgin and Child (fol. 50v); David in prayer, to preface the Penitential Psalms (fol. 90v); and the Raising of Lazarus to mark the beginning of the Vigil (fol. 111v). The portrait on fol. 17v shows the donor in prayer before a sculpted and polychromed image of the Virgin in a church, suggesting the patron’s intense Marian devotion. Perhaps the illuminator was sketching the sitter from life when he depicted James Brown wearing an ermine wrap (fur on one side, silk on the other) terminating with little black tails on the floor, or perhaps he based this depiction on a verbal description. Either way, the painter was responding to the sitter’s requests and particular aesthetic interests. Moreover, needle holes and fragments of textile indicate that the image was covered with green curtain. Lab tests would probably confirm that the curtain was made in silk. Did James Brown sew the curtains into his book? Or have them attached in Scotland? Or could one order a book, complete with silk curtains sewn in, directly from book makers in the Southern Netherlands?

The book was not entirely to his satisfaction, however, because upon receiving it, he had it augmented with local saints, including St. Andrew, and had a quire of prayers added to the end. The original Netherlandish book makers, although making the book to commission (as evidenced by the unusual combination of texts and the full-page miniature of the patron), had not used the right kind of Scottish calendar, but had copied a Netherlandish one instead. Among the saints in red, the calendar lists St. Macharius, a martyr whose relics were preserved in Ghent, but who would be utterly irrelevant to a dean from Aberdeen. The book’s Scottish owner set out to adjust the manuscript to his needs by filling in the calendar and augmenting it with prayers and texts. Specifically, he filled in the empty parchment at the end of the Vigil (figs. 199 and 200). Someone has filled 151r with more prayer text in a very competent hand; another person, writing in a script that’s nearly a Bourgogne, has made an addition on 151v. As these hands are distinctively not Scottish, either the patron found Netherlandish scribes who worked as scriveners in Scotland, or he had these additions made when he was abroad.

This blank parchment at the end of the Vigil did not however give him enough space, so he added a quire to the end of the book (fol. 152–157), which is ruled separately with narrower margins for less waste. The items he was desperate to include in the book, which are copied in beginning on fol. 152r, are mnemonic verses for remembering the books of the Bible; a poem on the death of Elizabeth Lauder of the Bass (his mother); and a table for finding the date of Easter. Although the Netherlandish scribe had provided him with a computational circle for calculating the date, this chart was handier and did not require him to do any math. Considering that he had an ecclesiastical position in Aberdeen, one can see why he would want to know at least the books of the Bible. And the verses on his mother’s death extend the function of the rest of the manuscript, to do what he could for the salvation of his mother’s soul.


While parchment has a lifespan that far exceeds the lifetime—and possibly the imagination—of its maker, bindings wear out with heavy use. Moveable parts, such as leather and cords forced to function as hinges, crack and break, especially if they have been glued, as glue makes things brittle. Rebinding afforded book owners the possibility of making changes to their books. They could add new parchment modules such as single leaves, bifolia, and entire quires, or they could refurbish the decoration, cast off unnecessary parts (such as calendars made for elsewhere), or absorb images—old heirlooms or new miniatures—into their books. These adjustments were not seamless: quite literally this new physical material would be stitched, along with the original material, onto the cords that would be fixed into the book’s new or reused covers. The seams were therefore on the inside of the book, deep within its gutter, and like the seams on well-hemmed trousers were largely out of sight.

Owners took the opportunity during rebinding to make changes to their books. The foregoing discussion has demonstrated that they sewed images in before major text openings, adding both color and devotional presence, while raising the value of their books. They added sheets with new prayers, especially those providing large indulgences that had come into circulation since the book was new. Owners often incorporated images of themselves, appended whole groups of images, or even harvested images stripped from another book. They could also incorporate longer prayers and texts, including recently devised feasts and new fashionable prayers copied onto bifolia or full quires. Indeed, copying prayers on flat sheets with a hard desk underneath must have been easier than copying them into an already bound book, as anyone who has ever attempted to write in a tightly bound diary can attest. After 1390 leaves with images circulated for this purpose, and I suspect that scriveners also copied short prayer texts into booklets, which owners could likewise bind into their books next time they had them rebound.

Some of these activities led to greater standardization in the processes of making books of hours. Throughout the fifteenth century in Northern Europe the standard was to be that all major texts began on a fresh quire, so that they left open the possibility that an owner could add an image either immediately or at a later date. Concomitantly, images were made on single leaves so they could be slotted into the book with the image on the left side of the opening. These forces also led to the rapid production of single-leaf images by fairly unskilled artists. The resulting images, especially those by the Masters of the Pink Canopies, are colored in with unmodulated paint, within lines drawn by simple geometric shapes, or based on simple models. Division of labor, plus the chance to train each contributor only to meet the demands of his small contribution, led to skill loss. Although few sale records survive that might indicate book costs over time, once suspects that modularly-made manuscripts came more cheaply to the consumer and widened the consumer base down-market.

Strangely enough, some of these same ideas were used at the opposite end of the quality spectrum. The mastermind behind the production of Simon de Varie’s book of hours, for example, was able to assemble a book from component parts in Paris, including full-page miniatures made by Jean Fouquet who worked in Tours, precisely because making components modularly meant that one could make them remotely.

Adding new images often threw off the hierarchy of decoration and therefore required some other forms of upgrading. Such was the case in Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Ms. 434. When the Masters of the Dark Eyes added full-page miniatures to an already complete book of hours, they added painted border decoration to match the images, thereby creating visually cohesive openings. One change begot another. The fact that the Masters of the Dark Eyes often created full-page images with rather unusual subjects suggests that they made upgrades for specific books, rather than using standard images that they had in stock. This observation is consistent with the additions they made to Beinecke 434, as well as for the leaf they added to the Fagel Missal, which could only have been made for this large missal. Thus, these artists were the ones to go to for lavishly colored bespoke miniatures. The Masters of the Dark Eyes return in Part IV, as they also specialized in rearranging books’ contents so that the new entities hardly resembled the original parts from which they were made.


1    The manuscript is in a private collection. It was formerly owned by Les Enluminures (Paris), for which see–omer-diocese-of-therouanne–20645, where it is listed as “Psalter-Hours by the Illuminator of Cambrai 87.” For the illuminator of the eponymous manuscript, consult A. Bennett, “Devotional Literacy of a Noblewoman in a Book of Hours of Ca. 1300 in Cambrai,” in Manuscripts in Transition: Recycling Manuscripts, Texts and Images: Proceedings of the International Congres [sic] Held in Brussels (5–9 November 2002), ed. Brigitte Dekeyzer and Jan van der Stock (Leuven: Peeters, 2005), pp. 149–205.

2    For images, analysis and further bibliography, see Rob Dückers and Ruud Priem, The Hours of Catherine of Cleves: Devotion, Demons and Daily Life in the Fifteenth Century ([Antwerp]: Ludion, 2009).

3    1r: computational table (highly rubbed), with dates beginning 1415. However, the manuscript looks younger to me, and I suspect that the date was just slavishly copied from the exemplar. Ruling only defines a text box, and the individual lines are not ruled. The scribes therefore write a variable number of lines per folio. This is typical of German manuscripts, but less common in Netherlandish ones, suggesting that this manuscript came from the Dutch German border area, a hypothesis confirmed by the dialect, with words such as mit instead of met. Unusually, the script begins above the top line.

4    For a discussion of a cisiojanus in another manuscript, with further bibliography, consult Kathryn M. Rudy and René Stuip, “‘Martin Fights in July, and He Strikes St. Vaast with the Font.’” A Cisiojanus and a Child’s Alphabet in Oxford, Bodleian, Ms Rawlinson Liturgical E 40,” Cahiers de Recherches Médiévales et Humanistes / A Journal of Medieval and Humanistic Studies 19 (2010), pp. 493–521.

5    Roger S. Wieck, Time Sanctified: The Book of Hours in Medieval Art and Life, 1st ed. (New York: G. Braziller in association with the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore, 1988), p. 28.

6    The subjects of these cycles changed regionally and over time, for which see Vanwijnsberghe, “The Cyclical Illustrations of the Little Hours of the Virgin in Pre-Eyckian Manuscripts,” and Vanwijnsberghe, “Le Cycle de l’Enfance des Petites Heures de la Vierge dans les Livres d’Heures des Pays-Bas Méridionaux.”

7    Bernard Bousmanne, “Deux Livres d’Heures du Groupe aux Rinceaux d’Or,” Revue des archéologues et historiens d’art de Louvain 20 (1986), pp. 119–44; and Bert Cardon, “The Illustrations and the Gold Scrolls Workshop,” in Typologische Taferelen uit het Leven van Jezus: A Manuscript from the Gold Scrolls Group (Bruges, ca. 1440) in the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, Ms. Morgan 649: An Edition of the Text, a Reproduction of the Manuscript, and a Study of the Miniatures, ed. Bert Cardon, R. Lievens, and Maurits Smeyers, Corpus van Verluchte Handschriften uit de Nederlanden = Corpus of Illuminated Manuscripts from the Low Countries (Leuven: Peeters, 1985), pp. 119–204, have discussed the Masters of the Gold Scrolls, and their works contain references to earlier literature through which one could map the formation of this category in the twentieth century. Georges Dogaer, Flemish Miniature Painting in the 15th and 16th Centuries (Amsterdam: B. M. Israël, 1987), pp. 27–31; van Bergen, De Meesters van Otto van Moerdrecht; James Douglas Farquhar, “Identity in an Anonymous Age: Bruges Manuscript Illuminators and Their Signs,” Viator 11 (1980), pp. 371–83; Farquhar, “Manuscript Production and Evidence for Localizing and Dating Fifteenth-Century Books of Hours: Walters Ms 239,” Journal of the Walters Art Gallery 45 (1987), pp. 44–88; and Melanie E. Gifford, “Pattern and Style in a Flemish Book of Hours: Walters Ms. 239,” Journal of the Walters Art Gallery 45 (1987), pp. 89–102 have discussed the Masters of Otto van Moerdrecht.

8    Gumbert, Manuscrits Datés Conservés dans les Pays-Bas, T. 2 (Cmd-Nl 2), vol. II, p. 5, nt. 13, however, questions this date.

9    Tilburg, UB, KHS 12, fol. 262v.

10    Korteweg, Kriezels, Aubergines en Takkenbossen: Randversiering in Noordnederlandse Handschriften uit de Vijftiende Eeuw, pp. 56–67.

11    Klara H. Broekhuijsen, The Masters of the Dark Eyes: Late Medieval Manuscript Painting in Holland, Ars Nova (Turnhout: Brepols, 2009), cat no. 6, pp. 95–96.

12    Masters of the Dark Eyes, Mass of St. Gregory, full-page miniature inserted into a book of hours. The Hague, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Ms. 76 G 16, fol. 149v-150r

13    Masters of the Dark Eyes, Opening at the Seven Penitential Psalms, with the Last Judgment on the left side of the opening, and the Psalms beginning with a large decorated initial on the right. The Hague, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Ms. 76 G 16, fol. 52v-53r.

14    Korteweg, Kriezels, Aubergines en Takkenbossen, pp. 154–65.

15    Souls in the bosom of Abraham, full-page miniature inserted to face the incipit of the Vigil for the Dead. The Hague, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Ms. 133 E 22, fol. 101v-102r

16    Catalogue of Medieval Manuscripts and Incunabula at Huis Bergh Castle in ’s-Heerenberg, cat. 79, pp. 137–39.

17    Kathryn Rudy, “A Pilgrim’s Book of Hours: Stockholm Royal Library A233,” Studies in Iconography 21 (2000), pp. 237–77; and “Addendum,” Studies in Iconography 22 (2001), pp. 163–64.

18    Coat of arms (overpainted), full-page miniature added to a book of hours. The Hague, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Ms. 133 E 17, fol. 1v.

19    Added coat of arms. Cambridge, University Library, Ms. Ii.6.2, fol. 2v.–00002/10

20    Anne Margreet W. As-Vijvers, ed. Beeldschone Boeken: De Middeleeuwen in Goud en Inkt (Zwolle and Utrecht: Waanders Uitgeverij & Museum Catharijneconvent, 2009), pp. 36–39.

21    James H. Marrow and François Avril, The Hours of Simon de Varie, Getty Museum Monographs on Illuminated Manuscripts (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum in association with Koninklijke Bibliotheek, The Hague, 1994).

22    Coat of arms of Simon de Varie, full-page miniature added to the Hours of Simon de Varie. The Hague, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Ms. 74 G 37a, fol. 1r.

23    Opening of the Hours of Simon de Varie: Jean Fouquet, Virgin and Child, full-page miniature added to a book of hours with miniatures and marginal figures by artists in Paris. The Hague, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Ms. 74 G 37a, fol. 1v-2r.

24    Thomas Kren, “The Trivulzio Hours and the Interurban Network of Luxury Book Production in the Burgundian Netherlands,” in Conference in Celebration of Anne Korteweg’s 65th Birthday (The Hague, Koninklijke Bibliotheek: unpublished, 2007).

25    Crucifixion and beginning of the canon, with a printed initial. The Hague, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Ms. 135 H 45, fol. 101v-102r.

26    For an overview of these artists’ works, see van Bergen, De Meesters van Otto van Moerdrecht.

27    Neuheuser, “Die Kanonblätter aus der Schule des Moerdrecht-Meisters,” pp. 187–214.

28    Wilfried Werner, ed. Cimelia Heidelbergensia: 30 illuminierte Handschriften der Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg (Wiesbaden: Reichert, 1975), , pp. 25–26.

29    Marian Schilder, ed. Amsterdamse Kloosters in de Middeleeuwen (Amsterdam: Vossiuspers AUP, 1997), cat. 38, p. 185.

30    Enschede, RMT, inv. no. 381, fol.1r: “Missale hoc pertinet conventui sororum domus sancte agnetis amersfordie. Scriptum in congregacione fratrum montis sancti Jheronimi prope hattem per manus Gherardi Amstel de arnem presbitri fratris eiusdem congregacionis. Procuratum cura et sollicitudine domini Augustini de varen de mechlinia. iiii rectoris et confessoris sororum domus sancte Agnetis prefate anno domini m° cccc° lvii. Cuius anima requiescat in pace Amen.”

31    A complete overview of these artists has yet to be written. Until then, consult Gloria K. Fiero, “Smith Ms. 36: A Study in Fifteenth Century Manuscript Illumination,” The Courier (Syracuse University Library Associates) 13 (1976), pp. 3–27, who discusses a manuscript with Delft grisailles that is now HKB 79 K 1. See also Marta Osterstrom-Renger, “The Netherlandish Grisaille Miniatures: Some Unexplored Aspects,” Wallraf-Richartz-Jahrbuch 44, pp. 145–73; and Anne Margreet W. As-Vijvers, Tuliba Collection: Catalogue of Manuscripts and Miniatures from the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries (Hilversum: Tuliba Collection, 2014), no. 7, pp. 64–68.

32    Gerard Achten, Das Christliche Gebetbuch im Mittelalter: Andachts- und Stundenbücher in Handschrift und Frühdruck (Berlin: Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz, 1987), p. 102. A description of the manuscript, including a collation, appears in Barbara A. Shailor, Catalogue of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, 3 vols. (Binghamton: Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies, 1984), vol. II, pp. 366–68. Shailor describes the manuscript’s stratigraphy differently than I do. Where she sees three campaigns of work I see two: first, the historiated initials and penwork borders (1480–1500); and second, the full-page miniatures made by several Dark Eye Masters, who also executed the overpainted borders (ca. 1500–1510).

33    End of vespers of the Hours of the Virgin, with penwork border on one side (verso), and beginning of compline with a five-line painted and gilt initial and painted border on three sides (recto). Script and decoration applied in Delft. New Haven, Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Ms. 434, fol. 49v-50r.

34    According to Broekhuijsen, The Masters of the Dark Eyes: Late Medieval Manuscript Painting in Holland, the added miniatures belong to the “Margaret of Austria” group within the Masters of the Dark Eyes.

35    On sewing badges into manuscript prayerbooks, see Asperen, Pelgrimstekens op Perkament. I would nuance van Asperen’s claim implicit in the entire book that all such badges are “pilgrims’ badges.” Rather I believe many of the round badges bearing images of the Lamb of God, the Crucifixion, Resurrection, and other sacramental themes, were souvenirs of having taken the Eucharist and therefore have little to do with pilgrimage. See Kathryn M. Rudy, “Sewing the Body of Christ: Eucharist Wafer Souvenirs Stitched into Fifteenth-Century Manuscripts, Primarily in the Netherlands,” Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Art, January 2016.

36    Mass of the Dead, full-page miniature made in the Netherlands, facing the incipit of the Office of the Dead, copied in Italy. The Hague, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Ms. 133 D 15, fol. 65v-66r.

37    Visitation, full-page miniature made in the Netherlands, facing the incipit of prime of the Hours of the Virgin. The Hague, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Ms. 133 D 15, fol. 112v-113r.

38    Korteweg, Catalogue of Medieval Manuscripts and Incunabula at Huis Bergh Castle in ’s-Heerenberg, cat. 50, pp. 100–01.

39    In the context of discussing full-page miniatures and their placement, Kathleen L. Scott, “Design, Decoration and Illustration,” in Book Production and Publishing in Britain, 1375–1475, ed. Jeremy Griffiths and Derek Albert Pearsall, Cambridge Studies in Publishing and Printing History (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989), pp. 31–64, p. 56, n. 25, lists manuscripts with 3–47 images added at the front: “York Minster Library Ms Add. 2, with 47 pictures at the front [sic, kmr]; BKB IV 1095, with 21; Rennes BM, Ms. 22 and its detached part in London, British Library, Royal Ms 2.A.XVIII, with 16; London, British Library, Add. Ms 65100 (formerly Upholland College, Ms 42), with 15; Hours of the Duchess of Clarence (whereabouts unknown), with 8; Cambridge, Fitz, Ms. 3–1979, and NLW, Ms 17520, both with 7; Cambridge TC Ms B.11.7, with 3. Oxford, Bodleian Library, Ms Lat. Liturg. f. 2 has a group of six full-page miniatures at the front and five Memorials with pictures at the end as part of additional material to a Franco-Flemish core text.” Some of the manuscripts Scott lists have become repositories for images removed from other books. To my mind, this explains why such images disrupt the hierarchy of decoration.

40    John Higgitt, The Murthly Hours: Devotion, Literacy and Luxury in Paris, England and the Gaelic West (London: British Library and University of Toronto Press in association with the National Library of Scotland, 2000). For one analysis of the stratigraphy of the Murthly Hours, see De Kesel, “Use and Reuse of Manuscripts and Miniatures. Observations on Pasted-in, Recycled and Removed Miniatures and Text Leaves in Some Late Medieval Flemish Illuminated Manuscripts Related to ‘La Flora,’” pp. 48–85, pl. 4–5; Stanton, “Design, Devotion, and Durability in Gothic Prayerbooks,” considers the recycled images in the manuscript.

41    Korteweg, Kriezels, Aubergines en Takkenbossen, p. 107.

42    Catalogue of Medieval Manuscripts and Incunabula at Huis Bergh Castle in ’s-Heerenberg, cat. 67, p. 118.

43    Opening of a printed missal (early sixteenth century) revealing a full-page miniature on parchment depicting Christ crucified (twelfth century?) inserted as a canon page. Paris, Bibl. Sainte-Geneviève, inc. OE XV 698.×3&page=1&angle=0&zoom=petit&tailleReelle=

44    Rudy, Postcards on Parchment.

45    Adam S. Cohen, “Magnificence in Miniature: The Case of Early Medieval Manuscripts,” in Magnificence and the Sublime in Medieval Aesthetics: Art, Architecture, Literature, Music, ed. C. Stephen Jaeger, The New Middle Ages (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), pp. 79–101, pl. 1–14, esp. pp. 89–90.

46    Evangelist portrait of Matthew, part of the original campaign of work in the Egmond Gospels, executed in the ninth century in Northern France. The Hague, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Ms. 76 F 1, fol. 16v-17r.

47    Dedication miniatures, diptych made in Ghent ca. 975 and added to the Egmond Gospels. The Hague, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Ms. 76 F 1, fol. 214v-215r.

48    The Hours of Blanche of Savoy: New Haven, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Ms. 390. Written and illuminated ca. 1325–50, with additions commissioned by Charles V, King of France (r. 1364–80). Refer to the Beinecke’s website for further literature.

49    Opening from the Hours of Blanche of Savoy, including a miniature depicting Blanche of Savoy kneeling before the Trinity. New Haven, Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Ms. 390, fol. 1v-2r. and

50    Patrick M. de Winter, “The Grandes Heures of Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy: The Copyist Jean l’Avenant and His Patrons at the French Court,” Speculum 57, no. 4 (1982), pp. 786–842, pp. 802–03. De Winter reproduces fol. 6r (fig. 20) and fol. 4r (fig. 21). He recognizes the hand of Jean l’Avenant in a two-volume Bible historiale (Hamburg, Kunsthalle, Ms. Fr. 1); and in the Grandes Heures of Philip the Bold (Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum, Ms. 3–1954 and BKB, Ms. 11035–37).

51    Opening from the Hours of Blanche of Savoy, including miniatures depicting Blanche kneeling before St. Louis, and Charles V before St. Anthony. New Haven, Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Ms. 390, fol. 3v-4r. and

52    Original frontispiece from Guiard des Moulins, Grande Bible Historiale Complétée, showing God the Father enthroned in a quatrefoil surrounded by angels, with the four evangelists and their symbols in the corners. Made in Paris in 1371–72. The Hague, Meermanno Museum, Ms. 10 B 23, fol. 3r.

53    Folio from from Guiard des Moulins, Grande Bible Historiale Complétée, with a column miniature depicting the author presenting his work to William, archbishop of Sens. Made in Paris in 1371–72. The Hague, Meermanno Museum, Ms. 10 B 23, fol. 4v.

54    Opening in Guiard des Moulins, Grande Bible Historiale Complétée, with a dedication of the manuscript by Jean de Vaudetar to King Charles V of France, and a full-page miniature depicting the presentation of the book to the king. The Hague, Meermanno Museum, Ms. 10 B 23, fol. 1v-2r.

55    Erik Inglis, “A Book in the Hand: Some Late Medieval Accounts of Manuscript Presentations,” Journal of the Early Book Society 5 (2002), pp. 75–97.

56    Opening showing the end of the calendar, and a formerly blank folio filled with prayers in English and Latin by an early owner. London, British Library, Harley Ms. 2966, fol. 7v-8r.

57    Rudy, “A Pilgrim’s Book of Hours: Stockholm Royal Library A233,” pp. 237–77; “Addendum,” pp. 163–64.

58    Robert A. Koch, “La Sainte-Baume in Flemish Landscape Painting of the Sixteenth Century,” Gazette des Beaux-Arts 66 (1965), pp. 273–82.

59    Weekes, Early Engravers and Their Public, pp. 100–19, and 294–301.

60    Ibid.

61    Paris, BnF, Cab. des Estampes, Ea 6 Rés, fol. 2–3: Item, wie voer desen titel der verwynningen knyet End emit aendacht bedet in betrachtingen der passion ende stervens Ihesu Christe aen deme cruce v pr nr ende v Ave Maria ende einen gelouwe, der verdient allen den aflaet den daer is te Romen inder kercken tot den heiligen cruce, welcker aflaet is an tale ende aen mate den Gregorius der groote ende ander paess me bestediget ende vermeerret hebben, der ein nae den anderen. Item, me paess Sixtus der vierde hevet gegeven om reverencien willen dis titels xxiiiim iaer aflaetz dootlicker sunden, wie den titel spriect inden drien spraken ende wie en spriect aenden vridach soe men ons heren doet luyt ende men tenebre singet, da van hevet eickelick minsche lxxxm jaer afflaetz. Ende soe ein minsche den aendachtelicker spriect in aenbechtingen bedroefenisse ende liden verdient da van genadelicken verloest te vonden. In deser kercken tot den cruce is alle dage xlviiij iaer afflaetz. Soe vele karenen ende dat derde deil vergevinge alre sonden. Item, die heilige vader den paese Silvester [2v] Gregorius, Alexander, Nicholaus, Honorius ende Paglagius heft ein yegelicken gegeven m iaer einen yegelicken mynsche der dese kercke heymbesueket. Inder vasten inden advent ende inden anderen hochtijdelicken dagen is der aflaet tweevoldich. Aen desen dagen hier nae geschreven is allen wegen volcomen vergevinge alre sonden van pinen ende van scolt als in deme iubel iaere. Aen den wyssen vrijdach, aen des heiligen cruis dach der vindingen, aen des heiligen cruus dach der erhevingen, aenden neesten dach na sce Gregorius, dat is der xiide dach des mertz. Aen den dage is die kirck geweit woerden. Aen den yedel dage nae sce Gregorius dach dat is nae sce Benedictus avont ende is der xx dach inden mertz. Aen den dage is die capelle die heischt Iherusalem geweit woerden. Aender tweer heiligen dach als sce Cesarius ende sce Anastacius de in deser kercken lychandelicken liget. Sce Cesarius is aen alre heligen dach Ende sce Anastarius aenden derden dach voer sce Bartholomeus dache. Ende wie aen desen dage voerschreven voer den titel mit andacht spriect v pater noster ende v ave marien ende einen gelouwen hevet vergevinghe alre sonden van pinen ende van scholt. Desen aflaet hevet bestedicht pais Sixtus der vierde ende na hem paes Alexander der vjde. Ende aldus dorch dat gans [3r] iaer heft ein minsche alle dage daer van xijm iaer aflaetz doorlicker sonden ende twee mael alsoe vele dagelicker sonden. Aen die midwech ende vrijdach xxiiijm iaer aflaetz hebben gegeven de heilige vader de paesen. Desen aflaet mogen oech vercrigen de gelouwige zielen in deme vegevuer, alsmen v pr nr ende v Ave Maria ende einen gelouwe voer sij spriect. Ende off ein minsche soe cranck ware dat hij niet geknien ende[sic] conde, soe mach hij de pater noster sittende off liggende beden. Ende wie dit nagescreven gebet leest voer die martilie ons liefs heren waer dat sake dat hij soude beernen int vegevuer totten ioncxsten dage toe, dat wil god aen hem verwandelen. Ic dancke u gebenedide lieve here Ihesu Christe dattu din martilie begonstes crachtelick ende leetste anden cruus verduldelick ende hinges aenden cruus versmadelick ende sprakes droefflicken ende weendes bitterlicken ende woerdes te broken ganselicken ende gotes dijn bloet uut mildelicken ende storves om mijnen wil den bitteren doot. Lieve here nu bevele ich mij in die diepde dijnre grondeloser ontfermherticheit, ich bevele mij in dat hemelrijck dattu selver biste. Amen.

62    Incipit of the Hours of the Virgin, with a historiated initial. Utrecht or Delft, ca. 1420s. Leiden, Universiteitsbibliotheek, Ms. BPL 3073, fol. 1r. (then search for “BPL 3073”)

63    Incipit from the original part of the manuscript, with decoration from Utrecht or Delft. Leiden, Universiteitsbibliotheek, Ms. BPL 3073, fol. 154v. (then search for “BPL 3073”)

64    Beginning of the added bifolium. Leiden, Universiteitsbibliotheek, Ms. BPL 3073, fol. 191r. (then search for “BPL 3073”)

65    For a description, see N. R. Ker et al., Medieval Manuscripts in British Libraries, 5 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1969–2002), vol. IV, pp. 1–2, where the author acknowledges that fols 13–14 form an added bifolium.

66    Ibid., vol. IV, pp. 160–62. Ker describes the manuscript’s stratigraphy, including some erasures, some discards, and the 41 leaves added in 1491.

67    Miri Rubin, Corpus Christi: The Eucharist in Late Medieval Culture (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991).

68    Kok, “Een Houtsnede in een Handschrift.”

69    Te igitur page in the Gouda Missal, with a wood-cut image of the Trinity printed directly on the page. The Hague, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Ms. 135 H 45, fol. 102r.

70    The patron with St. Jerome, full-page miniature added to the added quire at the beginning of a book of hours. The Hague, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Ms. 135 G 19, fol. 4v-5r.

71    Face of Christ, full-page miniature added to an added quire at the end of a book of hours. The Hague, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Ms. 74 G 35, fol. 161v-162r.

72    So-called Masters of the Delft Grisailles, Angel, full-page miniature inserted before prayer to the personal angel. The Hague, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Ms. 74 G 35, fol. 83v-84r.

73    Hans Wegener, Beschreibendes Verzeichnis der Miniaturen und des Initialschmuckes in den Deutschen Handschriften bis 1500. V: Die Deutschen Handschriften bis 1500, 5 vols, Beschreibende Verzeichnisse der Miniaturen-Handschriften der Preussischen Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin (Leipzig: Weber, 1928), pp. 153–55, figs. 142, 143; Hermann Degering, Kurzes Verzeichnis der Germanischen Handschriften der Preussichen Staatsbibliothek. III: Die Handschriften in Oktavformat und Register zu Band I-III, 3 vols. (Leipzig: K. W. Hiersemann, 1925), p. 39; Achten, Das Christliche Gebetbuch im Mittelalter: Andachts- und Stundenbücher in Handschrift und Frühdruck, 13, no. 65, pl. 15.

74    Opening in a book of hours made in Leiden, with the incipit of the Vigil for the Dead (three-verse version), and a full-page miniature depicting the Mass for the Dead. The Hague, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Ms. 76 G 13, fol. 85v-86r.

75    Beginning of a group of quires added to a book of hours made in Leiden, with a full-page miniature depicting the Mass of St. Gregory (attributed to the Masters of the Suffrages) facing the Verses of St. Gregory. The Hague, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Ms. 76 G 13, fol. 98v-99r.

76    Opening near the end of a book of hours made in Leiden, from an added section, with a full-page miniature depicting the Christ crucified (attributed to the Masters of the Suffrages) facing a prayer to the cross. The Hague, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Ms. 76 G 13, fol. 105v-106r.

77    A good study of these artists has not yet been written. In the mean time, consult A. W. Byvanck and G. J. Hoogewerff, Noord-Nederlandsche Miniaturen in Handschriften der 14e, 15e en 16e Eeuwen (’s-Gravenhage: M. Nijhoff, 1922–1925), no. 113.

78    Binski, Zutshi, and Panayotova, Western Illuminated Manuscripts: A Catalogue of the Collection in Cambridge University Library, no. 191, pp. 180–81.

79    James Marrow named the Master of the Morgan Infancy Cycle after the artist in New York, Morgan Library and Museum, Ms. M. 866, for which see James H. Marrow, “Dutch Manuscript Illumination before the Master of Catherine of Cleves: The Master of the Morgan Infancy Cycle,” Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek 19 (1968), pp. 51–113.

80    Master of the Morgan Infancy Cycle, Christ as Man of Sorrows, with the instruments of the passion. London, British Library, Add. Ms. 50005, fol. 133v.

81    Pater Noster, and beginning of the Ave Maria. London, British Library, Add. Ms. 50005, fol. 15v.

82    Verses of St. Gregory (added). London, British Library, Add. Ms. 50005, fol. 168r.

83    Girls learning to read, a full-page miniature facing the alphabet, in a prayerbook probably made for a child. London, British Library, Harley Ms. 3828, fol. 27v-28r.

84    Rhyming prayer to Christ’s robe and the dice of the arma Christi, with a miniature depicting these objects, in a prayerbook probably made for a child. London, British Library, Harley Ms. 3828, fol. 65v.

85    David McRoberts, “Dean Brown’s Book of Hours,” The Innes Review xix (1968), pp. 144–67.