The Sobieski Hours - a Most Beautiful Manuscript in the British Royal Collection

The Sobieski Hours, illuminated in Paris around 1430, and now housed in The Royal Library at Windsor Castle, is among the great works of late Gothic illumination. QUATERNIO VERLAG LUZERN in Switzerland is the first facsimile publisher to have been given permission to reproduce a medieval manuscript from the Royal Library in a fine art facsimile edition.

The Sobieski Hours, illuminated in Paris around 1430, and now housed in The Royal Library at Windsor Castle, is among the great works of late Gothic illumination.

The manuscript was begun by artists working in the finest style of the Bedford Master, who  is named after the manuscripts he illuminated for a royal patron, John, duke of Bedford, regent of France  from 1422 to 1435..

This magnificent book contains 234 leaves. There are 60 full-page miniatures. More than 400 richly decorated narrative scenes.depict events in the life of Christ and the saints, as well as Old Testament stories. The Bedford artists were ably assisted in this very large undertaking by other renowned artists known as the Fastolf Master and the Master of the Munich Golden Legend.

The identity of the anonymous lady for whom this lavish Book of Hours was intended remains a mystery to this day. Was she or was she not Margaret, the sister of Duke Philip the Good of Burgundy?

In the commentary volume accompanying the fine art facsimile edition, this mystery is investigated. The Bedford specialist, Jenny Stratford, presents the most recent findings as well as extensive research into each illumination and narrative scene.

In the seventeenth century, the Sobieski Hours was at the court of John III Sobieski, King of Poland. Was it presented to the king after he saved Vienna from the Ottoman Turks in 1683?

Today, the Sobieski Hours is part of the British Royal Collection, held in trust for the nation by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. It is one of the most treasured manuscripts in the Royal Library.  

QUATERNIO VERLAG LUZERN in Switzerland is the first facsimile publisher to have been given permission to reproduce a medieval manuscript from the Royal Library in a fine art facsimile edition.

The fine art facsimile edition is supplemented by a commentary volume written by Jenny Stratford (University of London), available in English, French, and German.

 

HRH The Prince of Wales, Chairman, Royal Collection Trust has contributed a preface to the commentary volume, underlining the manuscript’s outstanding importance in the history of art and its eminent significance for the Royal Library.

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Categories: Books, History, College news

Tags: Bedford Master, facsimile, Sobieski Hours, The Royal Library