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The Flemish Book of Hours of Marie de Medici

The Flemish Book of Hours of Marie de Medici

Not much is known about this treasure from the Bodleian Library which is referred to as The Flemish Book of Hours of Marie de Medici.

It was probably commissioned by a wealthy female patron in Ghent or Bruges and produced between 1515 and 1520 by an anonymous artist known today simply as the “Master of the David Scenes in the Grimani Breviary.”

This artist was at the apex of his career and artistic maturity when he began working on the Flemish Book of Hours of Marie de Medici, and is considered to be one of the most elaborately ornamented works to come out of his studio.

The manuscript is highly decorated with both still lives of fruit and flowers within the borders and full pages that stand alone as individual works of art. The Master of the David Scene’s composition shows imaginative sense of storytelling using realistic and expressive figures in natural surroundings. He makes extensive use of architectural details and his interior scenes give an idea of the style of doors, windows, fireplaces and carving in a 16th Century Flemish building.

The facsimile edition of the Flemish Book of Hours of Marie de Medici, the original of which is listed in the inventory of the Bodleian Library in Oxford as Ms. Douce 112, is published by Quaternio Editions Lucerne in an unrepeatable, hand-numbered, limited edition of 680 copies.

The binding of the facsimile is a faithful replica of the manuscript’s Renaissance binding in burgundy red velvet and elaborately ornamented with silver and coloured silk thread embroidery on both front and back covers, as well as the spine.

The facsimile is accompanied by a commentary volume by Eberhard König, Professor of Art History at the Freie Universität, Berlin.

This volume picturesquely elucidates the golden age of Flemish manuscript illumination and a detailed description of every miniature allows the reader to discover all of the richly imagined detail in each illumination.

Both volumes – the facsimile and the commentary – are presented in an acrylic glass case, which protects the valuable edition from dust and allows it to be decoratively displayed.

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