The Rothschild Hours is undoubtedly one of the most exceptional and inestimable Books of Hours to be preserved from the late Medieval-early modern period. Though virtually unknown until the end of WWII, this incredible manuscript was produced around 1510-1520 in Flanders, and commissioned by an unknown nobleman. With its countless illuminations, colourful borders and lavish historiated initials, this book is a true jewel in the crown of Flemish book production.
The Rothschild Hours, a Book of Private Devotion
The book's text, penned in Latin, is typical in the field of late Books of Hours: a collection of prayers composed for the educated laymen who wanted to exercise their devotion by reciting various prayers throughout the day. The text of the single prayers is often flanked by illustrations, something that would have helped the reader in meditation while he/she were reading the book.
Various Illuminators in One Single Masterpiece
The illustrations found in the Rothschild Hours are extremely well executed and lavish in their opulent features. More than one artist, possibly a master and his assistant, were responsible for the manuscript decoration, something quite common in Flemish book illumination. The bulk of the book's depictions has been ascribed by scholars to Gerard Horenbout, the Ghent master who was painter at the court of Margret, the Governess of the Low Countries. His work is characterized by vivacious and highly realistic figures, a completely new feature in Flemish book painting. Another artist who probably worked on the book is the so-called Master of the Old Prayer Book of Maximilian I. His highly skilful paintings often feature short and tough looking figures, their hair often in strands, as seen in the Resurrection of Lazarus. Finally, the Rothschild Hours displays the work of Gerard David and Simon Bening.
Red velvet with 10 gilt fitting
We have 2 facsimiles of the manuscript "Rothschild Hours":
- Das Rothschild-Gebetbuch (Standard Edition) facsimile edition published by Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA), 1979
- Das Rothschild-Gebetbuch (Deluxe Edition) facsimile edition published by Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA), 1979