Resemblance and Devotion: Image and Text in a Parisian Early Fourteenth–Century Book of Hours Made for a French Noblewoman
Marina Vidas: Resemblance and Devotion: Image and Text in a Parisian Early Fourteenth-Century Book of Hours (Copenhagen, Royal Library, Ms Thott 534 4º) Made for a French Noblewoman
The focus of this article is Ms Thott 534 4º, a small Parisian early fourteenth-century illuminated Book of Hours in the collection of the Royal Library, Copenhagen, about which up until now, very little has been published. Firstly, the textual and pictorial contents of the manuscript are listed. Secondly, the specific elements in the book which indicate that it was made for a woman are analysed. The article pays particular attention to the representation of the book’s owner and to other images of women in Ms Thott 534 4º. Additionally, possible readings of the juxtaposed images and texts relevant to the original owner of the manuscript are explored. Thirdly, the significance of the presence of Norman saints in the Calendar and memoriae, as well as of hagiographic material invoking saints that had a cult following in France and England are discussed. Fourthly, the components which reveal that the original book owner had connections to Paris are enumerated and analysed. It is shown that there are stylistic and iconographic similarities between Ms Thott 534 4º and two other Parisian personal devotional manuscripts, the Psalter and Hours of Blanche de Bourgogne (New York, New York Public Library, Ms Spencer 56) and a Psalter-Hymnal (Baltimore, Walters Art Gallery, W. 115) which, in all likelihood, was made for Blanche de Bretagne (c. 1270–1327). These similarities suggest that the three manuscripts are likely to date from around the same time. Drawing on the hagiographic and pictorial material in Ms Thott 534 4º, it is concluded that the Book of Hours was executed around 1310 for a lady with connections to Paris, Evreux, and possibly England. More specifically, Marguerite d’Artois, Countess of Evreux (1285–1311), is proposed as a possible candidate as the original owner of the manuscript.