Tags for: The Medieval Top Seller: The Book of Hours
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The Medieval Top Seller: The Book of Hours

Friday, August 26, 2022–Sunday, July 30, 2023
Location:  115 Manuscripts & Textiles

About The Exhibition

Books of hours were immensely popular devotional books in the later Middle Ages. Meant for laypeople or those not in the clergy, books of hours were at-home companions containing daily prayers as well as prayers for specific occasions, such as death, plague, warfare, travel, or bad weather. Ranging from lavishly decorated by hand with gold leaf to printed on paper with no images, books of hours were customizable and could be highly personalized to an individual’s tastes, budget, and interests. Mostly used by women, these books are estimated to have been owned by every fourth household at the height of their popularity. Such popularity lasted until around the 1550s, when German priest Martin Luther, in his attempts to reform the Catholic Church which led to the Protestant Reformation, declared them full of “un-Christian tomfoolery,” and they fell out of favor. These precious volumes are windows into the medieval world and the lives of their original owners.