Amsterdam

The Bout family, who lived in Amsterdam, ordered the manuscript in 1453, only a year after a devastating fire destroyed three-quarters of the city. In the fifteenth century Amsterdam was the most important trading city in Holland, although it was not nearly as grand as it would become in the seventeenth century. Bruges was still a much larger trading city at this time. In this late medieval period, Amsterdam had about sixteen convents and religious houses, including the begijnhof, which visitors can still tour. Despite this commercial and religious activity, Amsterdam was not a major centre for manuscript production, which is perhaps why the Bout family ordered the manuscript from illuminators in Haarlem.

A coat of arms, which was later painted over, is still visible from the back side of one of the parchment folios in this manuscript. The objects in the coat of arms, three arrows (bouten in Dutch) have transferred through the vellum through oxidation. Thierry de Bye Dolleman, specialist in the genealogy and heraldry of Haarlem and its region, identified them as belonging to the Bout family of Amsterdam. According to him the book could have been ordered by Jan Jansz. Bout, who was an alderman of Amsterdam in 1478 and member of the council in 1481, possibly as a gift for his wife. She—or another female member of the family—is represented in the historiated initial with the Salvator Mundi at the beginning of the Hours of All Saints on fol. 97r.

Fol. 17r. Back of the Annunciation miniature

Fol. 17r. Back of the Annunciation miniature

Fol. 17v. Master of Gijsbrecht van Brederode, Annunciation

Fol. 17v. Master of Gijsbrecht van Brederode, Annunciation

Fol. 97r. Masters of the Harlem Bible, Christ as Salvator Mundi with patron

Fol. 97r. Masters of the Harlem Bible, Christ as Salvator Mundi with patron