Utah State University Digital History Collections


De Viller's Book of Hours: 15th Century Illuminated Manuscript


Document Type

Digital Collection


Merrill-Cazier Library


A prayer book intended for use by lay persons to recite daily the Divine Office, a complicated series of prayers that changed daily. Includes the following sections written mostly in medieval Latin: full calendar (in French), standard pericopes of the gospels (John 1:1-14, Luke 1:26-38, Matthew 2:1-12, and Mark 16:14-20), Passion according to John (John 18:1-19:42), Hours of the Virgin (use of Rome), Short hours of the Holy Cross and Holy Spirit, Penitential psalms and litany of saints, Office of the Dead (use of Rome), Obsecro te, Seven prayers of Saint Gregory the Great, Suffrages of Saints John the Baptist, Christopher, and Barbara. Also contains notes on the marriage, and on the birth and baptism of the children of Pierre de Villers and Jeanne de Chissiret, 1603-1621 (in French). Original given to USU libraries by L. Boyd and Anne McQuarrie Hatch. 181 illuminated pages. A thesis about the de Villers book of hours written by Kenneth R. Williams is also included in this digital collection. Created in France during the late fifteenth century, the illuminations, text, and family genealogy (added by one of many owners) found in De Villers Book of Hours make it an excellent example among other French books of hours from this period. In addition to acting as a repository of the style and iconography of French fifteenth-century illumination, the book's rich decorative program and varied textual content provide a remarkable document of contemporary devotional piety. This thesis provides the first detailed description and analysis of the De Villers Book of Hours. Following a description of books of hours in general, the overall make-up of the De Villers Hours is addressed, including the decorative program with a suggested method and example for description, a sample of textual transcription, comments on the provenance, a brief description of the family genealogy, and a concluding section with a sample collection register and worksheet for cataloging.