Karlsruhe, Badische Landesbibliothek, Cod. Durlach 1

Hours of Christoph I, Margrave of Baden Facsimile Edition

Our price

More Buying Choices

Request Info

The Hours of Christoph I, Margrave of Baden is an expertly illuminated Christian prayer book made in France for its namesake around 1490. It is a rare example of a deluxe French book of hours made for a German noble. The original book boasted seventeen large and twenty-four small miniatures on pages with painted borders. The margrave cherished the book for the remainder of his life. After 1515, when he fell seriously ill, Christoph employed a German artist to add an image of himself flanked by his patron saints.

The book opens with tables in German for calculating the date of Easter from 1488 through 1532, followed by a liturgical calendar. Biblical readings, prayer services, and prayers form most of the book's text, with each section introduced by a miniature of an appropriate subject.

Characteristically French Illumination

Although manifestly made for Christoph, the original book was undoubtedly made in France. Its decoration is entirely French, with the protagonists appearing nearly filling the frame in the foreground within an illusionistic setting that appears to recede into deep space. The borders are also in the French style, with golden backgrounds or divided into geometric segments with backgrounds of gold and other colors. Stylized acanthus, flowers, birds, and amusing creatures appear against these rich backgrounds.

The Youthful Margrave

A miniature of the margrave in prayer appears opposite the beginning of the Hours of the Virgin, one of the prayer book's most extended texts (fol. 10v). It shows Christoph as a young man wearing armor and the collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece and kneeling in a tent before an open prayer book. The coat of arms of Baden-Sponheim is pictured below.

A Parable Pictured

One of the book's most striking miniatures depicts the parable of Lazarus and Dives (fol. 66r). The rich man, Dives, is shown naked and surrounded by fantastically multicolored demons. He points to his mouth, appealing to Abraham above—who holds the soul of the poor man Lazarus—to quench the thirst created by his hellish circumstances.

Faithful Always and Forever

The French illuminators, clearly answering Christoph's commission, repeatedly included the initials TSOE in the painted borders, an allusion to the margrave's motto, "Faithful always and forever." The saints' suffrages (short prayers) included in the manuscript were also chosen with the recipient in mind. Prayers addressed to Blessed Bernard of Baden (d. 1458) and Blessed Peter of Luxembourg (d. 1387)—each with a miniature—had particular resonance for Christoph (fols. 96r and 96r).

The Elderly Margrave

Late in life, the margrave had an image added to the manuscript. The diminutive Christoph is pictured between his name saint, Christopher, and his wife's name saint, Odile of Alsace. Christopher—who legend reports carried a child, later revealed to be Christ, across a river—is shown wading through a river with the Christ child on his shoulders and grasping the hand of the elderly margrave. Saint Odlie, born blind and miraculously cured, holds her eyes on a cushion.

Jewel of the Badische Landesbibliothek

The Badische Landesbibliothek counts Christoph's prayer book, which came to the library at its creation from the Baden-Baden ducal library, as one of the treasures of its collection. The current binding is of blue velvet with metal clasps.

We have 1 facsimile edition of the manuscript "Hours of Christoph I, Margrave of Baden": Stundenbuch des Markgrafen Christoph I. von Baden facsimile edition, published by C.F. Mueller, 1978

Request Info / Price
Manuscript book description compiled by Elizabeth C. Teviotdale.
Please Read
International social justice movements and the debates that ensued prompted us to start considering the contents of our website from a critical point of view. This has led us to acknowledge that most of the texts in our database are Western-centered. We have asked the authors of our content to be aware of the underlying racial and cultural bias in many scholarly sources, and to try to keep in mind multiple points of view while describing the manuscripts. We also recognize that this is yet a small, first step towards fighting inequality.

If you notice any trace of racist or unjust narratives in our communications, please help us be part of the change by letting us know.

Stundenbuch des Markgrafen Christoph I. von Baden

Karlsruhe: C.F. Mueller, 1978

  • Commentary (German) by Mittler, Elmar; Stamm, Gerhard
  • Limited Edition: 900 copies
  • Full-size color reproduction of the entire original document, Hours of Christoph I, Margrave of Baden: the facsimile attempts to replicate the look-and-feel and physical features of the original document; pages are trimmed according to the original format; the binding might not be consistent with the current document binding.

Our Price

More Buying Choices

Request Info