Books of Hours
The Book of Hours was the most popular book of the Middle Ages. We know this because of the large number that have survived. These manuscripts were used by the laity for their daily devotions. The "hours" referred to are the eight times during the day when prayers would be recited.
Books of Hours were produced throughout Europe, but were especially popular in France and Flanders (The Netherlands). Books of Hours for the wealthy were often beautifully decorated with full page miniatures, elaborate initials, and borders or line fillers. They are a rich source of medieval illuminations. The texts were written by hand in brown or black ink, with red or gold used to highlight important parts.
The content of both the texts and the images were similar in many Books of Hours, but there were variations depending on the person who commissioned the book.
See also Books on Illumination.
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