The Madrid Hours of William Lord of Hastings is certainly a fascinating example of Flemish book of hours. Produced in the area of Bruges in the late 15th century, the manuscript features 34 full-page miniatures and a full-page escutcheon with the arms of the commissioner Lord of Hastings.
Influence of Master of Vienna
The iconographic cycle seems to be influenced by the work of the Vienna Master of Mary of Burgundy and his workshop. A striking resemblance to the work of the Master of Vienna can be identified in the Death Virgil miniature, which echoes a similar interior to the one that the Vienna Master used throughout his career.
Typical of this interior is the figure in the foreground about to exit the scene f. 223v. The similarities are so impressive that some have been tempted to attribute this miniature to the Vienna Master himself.
Use of Patterns
The Madrid Hours of William Lord of Hastings is noteworthy because nearly all of its illustrations can be associated to the work of other illuminators, such as the Master of Houghton Miniatures.
This evidence together with the plenty of compositions clearly echoing stylistic features of other manuscripts seems to confirm the availability of patterns ready to be used which is something we were already aware of.
What is more striking is that this manuscript represents an early example of this systematized use of patterns for the new style of miniature which came about the 1470s.
The title of the manuscript takes after its commissioner: William Lord of Hastings, chamberlain of king Edward IV and patron of Flemish manuscript illumination until his death. His tight relationship with the royalty is confirmed by the importance given to the name saints of king Edward and his brother Richard in the calendar.
17th century rose velvet binding; 4 metal corner pieces incised with putti and grotesque masks.