Book of Hours of Philip of Burgundy

The Book of Hours of Philip of Burgundy dates from c.1450-1460. For a book of hours it is quite large; it was copied by Jean Miélot, the duke's secretary. A large part of the illuminations were made by Jean le Tavernier from Audenarde, an artist who specialized in grisaille, a technique with only grey and white shades. A number of these grisailles actually show Philip the Good praying.

For a long time it was thought that this book of hours from the KB collection is the one mentioned in an archival record from 1455, in which Philip the Good orders a payment to be made to Jean Le Tavernier for grisailles. However, recent research has shown that this reference actually is to another book of hours in Philips' library. The manuscript has, at a certain point, probably around 1500, been enlarged by adding new texts and images. The scribe and illuminator of the additions have done their utmost to make them as similar as possible to the existing ones. The book holds no less than 165 miniatures; 126 of them can be ascribed to Jean le Tavernier or an associate; the remaining 39 are by the anonymous illuminator of the additions, who is known as the 'Master of the Prayer Books of c.1500'. In the list below, all images are listed with their maker.

The Book of Hours has been in the Koninklijke Bibliotheek's collection since 1832. It entered the library from the collection of the Belgian historian G.J. Gérard, who at the end of the eighteenth century was the librarian of the Burgundian library. He died in 1814, and four years later his manuscripts collection was offered for sale to King Willem I by his widow. It was purchased for 7000 guilders and placed in National Archives. In 1832, the Book of Hours, together with more than 400 other manuscripts from Gérard's collection, was transferred to the KB. Gérard bought the book at the auction of the books of Mme de Montfort, canon of the Chapter of St. Waudru at Mons; it is unknown how the manuscript from the Burgundian collection ended up in Mme de Montfort's library.


Anne S. Korteweg, 'The Book of Hours of Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, in The Hague and its later adaptation'. In: B. Cardon et al. (red.), "Als ich can". Liber amicorum in menmory of professor dr. Maurits Smeyers. Paris (etc.), Peeters, 2002, vol. 1,
J.P.J. Brandhorst en K.H. Broekhuijsen-Kruijer, De verluchte handschriften en incunabelen van de Koninklijke Bibliotheek. Een overzicht voorzien van een iconografische index. 's-Gravenhage, Stichting Bibliographia Neerlandica, 1985, nr. 411.
Schatten van de Koninklijke Bibliotheek. 's-Gravenhage, Rijksmueum Meermanno-Westreenianum/Koninklijke Bibliotheek, 1980, nr. 45.
G. Dogaer, Flemish miniature painting in the 15th and 16th centuries. Amsterdam, B.M. Israël, 1987, p.70-76.
W. van Drimmelen et al. (red.), Honderd hoogtepunten uit de Koninklijke Bibliotheek = A hundred highlights from the Koninklijke Bibliotheek. Zwolle : Waanders, 1994, p 40-41.
'G.J. Gérard, historicus 1734-1814'. In: M. van Delft et al.(red.), Verzamelaars en verzamelingen : Koninklijke Bibliotheek, 1798-1998. Zwolle : Waanders, 1998, p. 43-47.