31 Days of Medieval Manuscripts

Weird Manuscripts – Day Twenty-Four of Medieval Manuscripts

Following day twenty-three’s post about cordiform manuscripts, I’ve started looking into other uniquely-shaped manuscripts. Manuscript historian extraordinaire Erik Kwakkel wrote a great post, “Strange Medieval Manuscripts” on this topic last year. I can’t discuss this topic nearly as well as Kwakkel did, but here are some of my favorites from his article and in general:

FLEUR DE LYS-SHAPED BOOK OF HOURS, in Latin, use of Rome, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON PAPER. [?Paris, c.1553]. Photo from christies.com.
This fleur-de-lys-shaped book of hours was made in Paris c. 1550 and was sold at Christie’s in 2006. If you look at Christie’s description of the manuscript, it says that the miniatures are “lobe-shaped” in order to fit with the book’s shape. You can see more images of this unique manuscript here. The Bibliotheque Municipale in Amiens, France has another fleur-de-lys book of hours, this one formerly owned by King Henry II of France. More images here. This manuscript and the one below were both featured in Kwakkel’s article.

Hildesheim, Dombibliothek, MS 728 (1450-75). Photo from medievalbooks.nl.

This tiny little round book of hours is called Codex Rotundus. It was made for the Count of Cleves and Mark in the 15th century and is now owned by the Dombibliothek Hildesheim. Austrian facsimile makers ADEVA have a nice little article about this manuscript on their website if you’re interested in learning more. From what I can gather, this is the only known example of a round medieval manuscript.

Two illustrations from the Hours of Jeanne d’Evreux by Jean Pucelle c. 1324-1328. By Anonymous [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
As I mentioned before with the Hours of Jeanne d’Evreux (above), tiny manuscripts are always fascinating and can be quite intricate. The article “Teeny Tiny Manuscripts” on Medieval Fragments includes several such books. I am especially taken with the bright colors and gilding of Rauner Library’s MS Codex 001054.

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