by Christopher de Hamel

MAY 22nd


Books of Hours are the most famous late medieval illuminated manuscripts. They are private prayer books for domestic use at home, and they often include enchanting illustrations and decorated borders, sometimes with scenes of daily life in the Middle Ages. The lecture looks at what a Book of Hours comprises and how they were used and who commissioned them. It shows how we can date and localise surviving manuscripts. It discusses how and where Books of Hours were actually made, and it follows through the various stages of writing, painting and illuminating a medieval manuscript.

Christopher de Hamel

“Immerse yourself in the medieval world of Christopher de Hamel” (Sir David Attenborough’s advice on life, quoted in The Evening Standard on his 90th birthday). Christopher de Hamel, FSA, is a Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.  He has doctorates from both Oxford and Cambridge.  He was a director of Sotheby’s for 25 years, responsible for illuminated manuscripts, and then librarian of the Parker Library in Cambridge for 17 years.  His very many books on medieval manuscripts include the best-selling Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts, which won the Wolfson History Prize.  He is widely known as a lecturer across six continents.

Images Credit:  Wiki Commons, Public Domain