© Mary Beth Winn 2003




Hore beate virginis Marie ad usum Sarum


By Mary Beth Winn, University at Albany, S.U.N.Y.




I. Introduction

Books of Hours receive their name from the core text known as the Hours of the Virgin, a series of prayers in honor of the Virgin Mary which are to be recited at each of the canonical hours of the day.  Originally ancillary to the Divine Office used by the clergy, this "Little Office" became the favorite prayerbook of lay persons and, consequently, the medieval "best-seller."  In addition to the Office of the Virgin, Books of Hours contained as essential elements various texts extracted from the Breviary: the Calendar, Penitential Psalms, Litany, Office of the Dead, and Suffrages to the Saints.  To these were invariably added certain secondary texts: the four Gospel Lessons, the account of the Passion according to John, the shorter Hours of the Cross and of the Holy Spirit, and two popular prayers to the Virgin, "Obsecro te" and "O intemerata".  These texts, almost always in Latin, were printed in center page and illustrated by a conventionalized sequence of pictures whose presence undoubtedly contributed to the popularity of the book.  Indeed, the illustration which marks the beginning of each section of text serves as an additional source for devotion and meditation even as it functions as a "bookmark" for the text (Wieck).


Because they share these fundamental elements of text and illustration, Books of Hours give an initial appearance of uniformity, yet they manifest enormous variety.  The specific responses used in the Hours of the Virgin, as well as in other offices, differ according to the liturgical use, that is, the diocese for which they are prepared.  The responses for the use of Sarum (Salisbury), for example, are not identical to those for the use of Rome.  The length of the offices may also vary according to the number of lessons included.  Differences occur as well in the order in which particular sections of the Hours are presented.  Most importantly, various "accessory" texts -- prayers, devotional readings, psalms, etc. -- can be added, often in the vernacular languages, and illustrated by other programs of images.


So popular were books of Hours that they constitute the largest single category of illuminated manuscripts which now exists (Harthan) as well as a remarkable corpus of roughly 1600 printed editions produced before 1530.  From the mid-13th to the mid-16th century, more books of Hours were produced, by hand and by press, than any other type of book (Wieck).  Despite centuries of loss and destruction, thousands of them survive as testimony to their popularity.  As the development of printing contributed to the spread of literacy, the demand for these prayer books increased, and Parisian printers (Pigouchet, Kerver, Hardouyn, Vérard, and others) soon became the acknowledged masters of the trade, producing 90% of the 15th and 16th century editions of Hours, for use of dioceses not only in France but in England and elsewhere.


In 1901, Edgar Hoskins provided a catalogue of Sarum and York editions of Hours which has since been updated by the revised Short-Title Catalogue of 1976.  William Caxton issued ca. 1478 the earliest known Hours for the use of Sarum, but other printers, both English (Wynkyn de Worde, Pynson) and French (Jehannot, Pigouchet, Kerver, Poitevin, etc.), soon followed his lead.  Vérard published more than 80 editions of Horae, but only two were for the English diocese of Sarum.  More than half the other editions were for Roman use, the rest for French dioceses, with Paris prevailing over Poitiers, Rouen, and others.  Vérard's editions for Sarum both appeared after 1500.  The one that interests us here is undated; the other is dated April 24, 1506. The undated edition, no. 30 in Hoskins' chronological list, is sometimes assigned to the year 1503 according to the beginning date of its almanach, but Macfarlane dates it ca. 1505 based on the state of the woodcuts and the fact that by 1506 the woodcut of the Nativity had been replaced.[1]


In addition to the Hours, Vérard produced three other liturgical works for the use of Sarum: two missals and a ritual (Manuale).  One missal was published on June 29, 1504; the other was printed for Vérard in Rouen by I. Huvyn and G. Bernard on April 27, 1508.  The Manuale dates from 1505.  Vérard's editions for the English public also include several secular works, which are translations of texts he had published earlier in French.  Three of them date from 1503: the Art of Good Lywyng, the Kalendar of Shyppars, and Pierre Gringore's Castle of Labour.  An undated Passion of Christ, probably issued ca. 1508, is tentatively attributed to Vérard because of the illustrations.  Its engravings, copied from a set designed by Urs Graf for a Strasbourg edition of the Ringmann Passion, first appeared in the Contemplations historiees sur la Passion which Vérard published on March 26, 1507/8.  Although these editions all date from the first decade of the sixteenth century, Vérard had solicited the attention of the English king as early as 1493, by offering him deluxe copies of several French editions.  These include a magnificent Boece de Consolation, published in 1494, which contains a miniature of Vérard offering the book to Henry VII. The king's privy purse expenses record payment to "Antony Vérard" for a paper copy of the Ortus sanitatis.[2]  Whether or not the Parisian bookseller travelled to England to conduct his affairs personally, Vérard's publications reveal a clear interest in the English book-trade. 



II. This Edition

The undated edition of Hours which Anthoine Vérard produced for the use of Sarum is known from five copies.  Three are printed on vellum (now located at the Royal Library in Copenhagen, the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York, and Harvard College Library in Cambridge, MA); two on paper (British Library in London, Cambridge University Library).  Four of the copies are incomplete, lacking the first two leaves (or more), but in the Morgan copy, these two leaves are blank.  The edition consists of 170 leaves, organized into gatherings of 8 leaves (signatures b-x), except for the first (signature a), which has 10.  The first and third leaves are numbered "i" and "iii" for gatherings b-i, "i" and "ii" for gatherings k-x.[3]  In the Copenhagen copy, the signature "a v" (a 5) appears on what is now the third leaf but which was the fifth of the original 10 leaves.  The abbreviation "Sa" for Sarum use appears in the signature line on leaves 1 and 3 of quires f-i.  A table of contents is printed on fols. 166v-168, and the publisher's name appears below the last line of the table, separated by a space, on fol. 168: "Pro Antonio Verard."  This statement confirms what is known of Vérard's trade practices, namely that he was not himself a printer, but rather a publisher and bookseller for whom at least a dozen different printers worked, often using materials owned by Vérard. 



III. Contents

The Table of Contents, introduced by the heading "The contentis of thys booke," occupies four pages at the end of the volume.  While the texts contained in the book are almost exclusively in Latin, the table lists them by titles in English, sometimes followed by the corresponding Latin incipits (e.g. "A Prayer to the Trinity. Auxiliatrix.").  Within the book itself, however, very few of the English titles are repeated, so that it is difficult to identify the relevant text from the table.  The word "Auxiliatrix" appears, for example, at the top of fol. 8v with no introduction in English to identify it as the prayer to the Trinity.  The prayer which the table calls "To the crosse" begins in the middle of fol. 100, with no title and no separation from the preceding text, and only by its incipit "Sanctifica me" can the reader recognize it.  Even more difficult to identify are texts that the table cites only in English, with no corresponding Latin: "A prayer for diverse oures of the day" begins on fol. 11v simply as "Hora prima."  To judge from the table, readers were expected to be at least minimally literate in Latin.  Thus, for example, they would be able to correlate the text "Pro tentatione carnis" on fol. 11 with the table's English title "Another for tentacion. of the fleslhe."  (The additional hurdles of spelling and spacing will be discussed shortly.)  


Although the table lists texts in the order in which they appear in the book (with the notable exception of the Gospels), it provides no folio numbers.  Consequently, the reader can locate the texts only by following the order indicated (and by reference to the illustrations which serve as "bookmarks" to the main sections of the book).  In error, the Gospels ("The foye gosepe.l.") are cited immediately following the calendar, which is in fact where they usually appear in most books of Hours.  In this edition, however, they are preceded by daily prayers, introduced by rubrics in English.  One can surmise that the table was copied from another edition without verifying the actual contents of this book.


The table prints at length (25 lines) the English rubrics for daily prayers that occupy only ten leaves in the book (fols. 8v-18), but summarizes the lengthy major section, the Hours of the Virgin (fols. 28-76v), in four lines: "Matines of our lady...".  This apparent imbalance raises two important considerations concerning both the printers' commercial interests and the readership of Books of Hours.  A table of contents in English, printed at the end of the book where clients were likely to glance, offered obvious publicitary advantages for printers targeting an English market.  The table emphasized the daily prayers, however, not only because of the language, but because these prayers were accessory texts whose presence distinguished this edition from others.  Printers used tables of contents to highlight distinctive texts or illustrations of their editions and thus, hopefully, to attract potential purchasers.  By the early 1500's, most readers of such books would already be familiar with the core texts, especially the Hours of the Virgin, and they would therefore require no further details about them.  They would probably be more interested in what additional texts or unusual features this edition offered.  One significant variant among the books, for example, is the inclusion of other smaller Hours (of the Cross and of the Holy Spirit) and their placement with respect to the Hours of the Virgin.  Although the table neglects to mention the Hours of the Holy Spirit (which are nonetheless included in this edition), it indicates that the Hours of the Cross and of the Compassion appear within the Hours of the Virgin ("the houres Wyth the houres of the pass.on of oure lorde. And of the compassion of oure lady").  It should be noted that the Hours of the Cross are a shorter form of the Hours of the Passion.  The terminology was imprecise, however, and although this edition uses the term "Passion" (which we shall maintain), the Hours are in fact the shorter form of the Cross.  The Hours of the Passion and of the Compassion follow the same sequence as the Hours of the Virgin, except that they have no Lauds.  Each hour consists of versicles, responses, antiphons and prayers, but there are no Psalms.  In this edition, as is evident from the table below, the Hours are "mixed", that is, Matins of the Passion and of the Compassion follow Matins and Lauds of the Virgin; Prime of the Passion and Compassion follow Prime of the Virgin, and so on, through Compline.


Since the liturgical use of these Hours is of Sarum, the edition employs English at several important places: the table of contents, the rubrics (fols. 9-10, 15-17) for the daily devotions at the beginning of the book (prayers which are themselves in Latin), a statement preceding the "ymage of pyte" (fol. 95), a brief prayer for the king (fol. 80), and four prayers toward the end (fols. 112-113, 118-119v).  Vérard was a master of books of Hours, but his English editions represented linguistic and typographical challenges.  He must have relied upon an earlier edition as his exemplar and/or hired an editor at least somewhat proficient in the language.  What the undoubtedly less anglophone compositor may have understood from the copy editor is another matter.  To begin with, the font used for this edition did not contain the letter "k" or the lower-case "w", so he had to improvise spellings through a combination of "lr" and "v v" with somewhat puzzling results: "sylrnes" for "sickness" (fol. 16v), "melrest" (fol. 112) for "meekest",  "v vysedon" ("wisdom"), "soro v ve" ("sorrow", fol. 119).  Letters "i" and "y" were somewhat interchangeable, and "u" could serve as vowel or consonant ("living" written as "lyuyng") unless of course it was mistakenly inverted to produce an "n" ("For Way faringmeu", fol. 16).  English spelling was itself not standardized in the early 1500's, and "frist" (fol. 9) could be considered a standard variant of "first" rather than an accidental inversion of letters. More troubling than the actual spelling, however, is the faulty spacing which must have puzzled English readers then as now.  A few examples will suffice: a rubric on fol. 17 "for the lyuyng and deest" is repeated in the next line as "For tehruyug and deest"; "o four" should read "of our" (fol. 9v).  In the table itself, "tgesone" must be understood as "the son," (fol. 168) and the "prayer lateshe vvhea monlrof. Uyn/han" refers, according to the text as cited by Hoskins, to a "prayer late shewed a monk of Bynham."  In general, nevertheless, the English prayers (fols. 112-113, 118-119) are as well printed by Vérard as in many English editions.



IV. Table of Contents

In the Table of Contents below, references are to the folio numbers of the Copenhagen copy; subjects of large woodcuts are indicated within brackets [ ] and underlined in bold.  For the original text of the table, see fols. 166v-168.


1               [chalice] "Hore beate virginis marie ad usum Sarum"

1v             almanach (1503-1520)

2               [anatomical man] with texts in French on the humors that correspond to each of the four elements: le colerique/ fire, le sanguin/air, le flegmatique/water, le melencolique/earth.  Each humor is represented by a man with the animal to which he relates (lion, monkey, lamb, pig), and a text indicates the appropriate zodiacal sign for bleeding each humor.


2v-8          Calendar (January to December,with saints listed for every date and a text in Latin concerning each month).


8v-18        Daily Prayers in Latin, with English rubrics (many are cited in the Table, fol. 166v-167): (e.g. fol. 9: "Wan thou go est frist out of thy hous ..  ...: Crux triumphalis").


18v-21v   Gospel Lessons

[Martyrdom of John, 18v]

               [Luke, 20]

               [Matthew, 20v]

               [Mark, 21v]


22-27        Passion according to John

                             [Betrayal of Judas, 22]


27v           [Tree of Jesse] "Incipiunt hore beate virginis marie  secundum usum Sarum"


28-76v   Hours of the Virgin, with Hours of the Passion  and of the Compassion of Our Lady

Matins, 28 [Annunciation]

Lauds, 33  [Visitation]

                                         Suffrages[4] to:

     the Trinity, 38v [Trinity – Te Deum]

                                                     the Holy Spirit, 39v [Pentecost]

                                                     the Cross, 40v [Arms of the Passion]

                                                     [Michael], 41v

                                                                        [John the Baptist], 42v

                                                     Peter & Paul, 43v [Peter]

                                                     [Andrew], 44v

                                                     [John the Evangelist], 45v

                                                     [Lawrence], 46v

                                                     [Stephen], 47v

                                                     [George], 48v

                                                     Thomas of Canterbury, 49v [Benedict] 

            [Nicholas], 50v

                                                     [Mary Magdalene], 51v

[Katherine], 52v

[Margaret], 53v

All saints, 54v [Pentecost]

for Peace, 55

                                         Matins, Hours of the Cross, 56 [Crucifixion]          

                                                                 Matins, Hours of the Compassion, 57


                             Prime, 57v [Nativity]

            Prime, Hours of the Cross, 60v  [Christ before Pilate]

                                         Prime, Hours of the Compassion, 61


                             Terce, 61v [Shepherds]

                                    Terce, Hours of the Cross, 63v  [Christ carries cross]

                                         Terce, Hours of the Compassion, 64


Sexte, 64v  [Magi]

                                         Sexte, Hours of the Cross, 66v [Christ nailed to cross]

                        Sexte, Hours of the Compassion, 67


None, 67v [Presentation]

                                         None, Hours of the Cross, 69v [Crucifixion]

                                         None, Hours of the Compassion, 70


                             Vespers, 70v [Flight into Egypt]

                                         Vespers, Hours of the Cross, 72v    [Deposition]

                        Vespers, Hours of the Compassion, 73


                             Completorium, 73v [Death of the Virgin]

                                         Completorium, Hours of the Cross, 76    [Entombment]

                                    Completorium, Hours of the Compassion, 76v


77-80        Salve Regina [Virgin in Glory]

80             God save the Kyng

80v           O intemerata [Apparition of the Virgin

82v           Obsecro te   [Apparition of the Virgin

86-89v      Prayers to

                             the sacrament

                             the Trinity

                             Christ (two made by Henry VI), 88v

                             with Collects to the 3 kings, 89

90-95                     XV  Hours of the Passion: Domine Jesu ...              

95-98        Prayers to the Pity of our Lord [Crucifixion]

                             - and to his five wounds

98v-100    Prayer of St. Bernard: O Bone Jesu, O rex gloriose

100           (To the cross) Sanctifica me

100v-101  (To the proper angel) O sancte angele

101v-111  Prayers to the saints

                                         [James the Greater], 101v

                        James the Lesser, 102v

                                         [Sebastian], 103

            [Christopher], 104

                        George, 104v

                                         [Martin], 105v

                        [Anthony], 106v

                                         [Francis], 107v

                        [Anne], 108v

            Barbara, 109

                        Eleven thousand Virgins, 109v

            [Apollonia], 110v

                        All saints, 111

112-113v  Two devout prayers in English to Jesus

 - O glorious Jesu

 - O the most sweetest

113v-115  Prayers to be said in the agony of death

115v-116  Prayers to the Father, Son, Holy Ghost    

116v-117  (special prayer late shewed a monk of Bynham)

- Deus propitius, with a collect to saint Michael

117           Anthems to saint Gabriel

117v                          to saint Raphael (but rubric reads "Gabriel")

117v         A devout Blessing

118-119v  Two prayers in English

 - O Blessyd Trinyte

 - O Lord God almygthy

120-126    Seven Penitential Psalms [David and Bathsheba]

- Domine ne in furore (Ps. 6)

- Beati quorum (Ps. 31), 120v

- Domine ne in furore (Ps. 37), 121v

- Miserere  mei Deus (Ps. 50), 122v

- Domine exaudi (Ps. 101), 123v

- De profundis (Ps. 129), 125

- Domine exaudi (Ps. 142), 125

126-133v  Fifteen Psalms, Litany, and Suffrages    

133v-134  Verses of Saint Bernard

134           The short prayers taught by our Lady to saint Brigitte

- Jesu fili Dei ... Pater noster

134v-135  A prayer against thunder ...

                 - Titulus triumphalis ...

135v-155  Office of the Dead [Feast of Dives] (3 Hours)

- Vespers: Placebo, 135v (6 Psalms)

- Matins: Dirige, 139v (3 Nocturns, each with 3 Psalms and 3 Lessons)

- Lauds: Exultabant, 150v (7 Psalms)

155v-164  Commendations

164           Prayer to the Cross

164v-66v Hours of the Holy Spirit [small Pentecost]

166v-168  Contents/ "Pro anthonio verard" (168)

168v         Hore intemerate diue virginis marie secundum usum. Sarum

[Christ and Passion symbols: Image of Pity]






V. Illustrations and Type

Vérard's edition of Hours for the use of Sarum is unusual not only because of its liturgical use, as noted above, but also because of the size of type and the illustrations.  The type employed in this edition is larger than normal for books of Hours and corresponds instead to the size used in large-format service books, such as Missals or Breviaries.  The revised Short-Title Catalogue proposes Wolfgang Hopyl as the printer of this edition, albeit with a question mark.  Hopyl often produced service books for English use, and his large type, as found for exemple in his Missal for the use of Sarum, printed in 1510 for Francis Byrckman, is almost identical to the one used here.  However, the capital A differs.  Hopyl printed for Vérard a Missal for the use of Paris, and several of the woodcuts used in this edition of Hours are also found in a contemporary (ca. 1505-07) Dutch language edition of the Golden Legend which Hopyl printed for Willem Houtmart of Brussels.  Despite these connections, it is not certain that Hopyl printed the Vérard Hours for Sarum.  Another possible printer is Martin Morin of Rouen whose type for an undated Missal for Sarum use closely resembles that used by Vérard in this edition of Hours.[5] Here, the capital A appears to be the same, but other capitals (P, T, G) differ.  The connection with both Morin and Hopyl warrants further study, however, because Vérard's Art of Good Lywyng prints on the verso of the title page a cut of saint George which both printers also used.  For now, however, the edition of the Sarum Hours can be attributed with certainty only to Vérard.[6]


The illustrations found in this edition raise other questions.  The woodcuts of the saints (fols. 41v-52v and 101v-110v) and those used for the Hours of the Passion (54v-76v) are again much larger than usual and are not found in any other Vérard edition that I have seen.  Most Books of Hours employ small images of the saints, placed to the side of the text and measuring only a few lines high (30 x 20 mm).  Here instead Vérard has used woodcuts measuring 92 x 69 mm and occupying nearly the full page.  Most of the cuts depict a single figure displaying emblems of his martyrdom and invariably standing on a base of grass and plants.  Investigation has revealed that these cuts belong to, or are close copies of, a set used in an undated edition of prayers to the saints produced by François Regnault ca. 1500.  “Libraire juré” of the University of Paris, Regnault had been a bookseller in London in 1496 before establishing himself on the rue Saint-Jacques in Paris at the sign of saint Claude.  Printer and bookseller, he had commercial ties to Rouen and Caen, cities that were highly involved with the English booktrade.


 Most of Regnault's publications date from the 16th century. His edition of prayers to the saints has remained virtually unrecorded, except by Claudin (II, 544-45),[7] but two copies formerly in the Masson collection in Amiens now belong to the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris.  The title page describes the work in two lines of verse printed above an image of saint Véronique:

                 S'ensuyvent oraisons de plusieurs saincts et sainctes

                 Qui Jesuchrist aymerent de pensees non fainctes.

Similarly, the colophon records:

                 Cy finissent plusieurs devotes oraisons

                 Dont les saintz et sainctes requere devons.

The edition is neatly arranged with the woodcut of the saint on the verso of the page, facing a prayer to that saint on the recto, the text always printed within the 22-line limit of the typeset.  Each opening of the book offers therefore a devotional image with a corresponding text.


The Regnault edition contains a set of 47 woodcuts, of which 27 represent male saints, 16 female saints, and 4 Mary and/or Christ (one of which is repeated).  Books of Hours typically include suffrages to about 20 saints, and Vérard's edition uses only 16 male and 5 female figures from Regnault's set.  A few peculiarities are worth noting.  Regnault provided separate prayers to Peter and to Paul, with images of each.  Books of Hours, on the other hand, usually address both saints together in a single prayer, and the typical illustration portrays the two saints side by side.  Vérard retained the tradition of a single prayer but had then to choose one of the two available images.  It is only Peter holding his keys who illustrates the text to "Peter and Paul" (fol. 43v).  Similarly, the Sarum Hours include a prayer to saint Thomas of Canterbury whose English origin evidently precluded his presence in Regnault's collection of saints.  To maintain the pattern, Vérard selected the woodcut of saint Benedict to serve as Thomas (fol. 49v).  An antiphon addressed to another saint not included in Regnault's compilation, James the Lesser (Jacobus minor), remains unillustrated in the Hours (fol. 102).  For all saints (fol. 54v), an image of Pentecost is used, from a different set of woodcuts.  Although the Hours include a prayer to saint Barbara (fol. 109-110), who was depicted in Regnault's set, no illustration is provided for her prayer.  Was the appropriate woodcut unavailable to Vérard? 


That question applies also to the illustration of saint James the Greater. Whereas Regnault's woodcut portrays the saint standing alone against a blank field, the cut used by Vérard adds hills to the landscape, buildings at a distance to either side, and a kneeling pilgrim to the right (see the reproduction of fol. 101v. from the British Library copy). The pose and expression of saint James himself are closely copied from Regnault's cut, but the overall scene has been significantly altered. The use of this woodcut raises additional questions about Vérard's access to Regnault's set of woodcuts, and indeed about the origin, date, publication, and distribution of the set, but these questions require further investigation. For the illustration of the other saints, see the list in the Table of Contents above.


It is worth noting that, in imitation perhaps of the Regnault edition, most of the woodcuts of the saints appear on the verso of the page, with the corresponding prayers printed in 4-5 lines below the image and on the facing page.  The correspondence is, however, less perfect than in Regnault's edition since the subject of the next saint is always announced on the recto preceding the image.  Thus, for example, saint Michael is depicted on fol. 41v and his prayer printed on the facing recto (fol. 42), but below the prayer and further accentuated by the blank space surrounding it is the rubric announcing the prayer to saint John the Baptist.  In two of the vellum copies, most woodcuts of the saints are surrounded by a gold frame which has been painted by hand after the original woodcut borders have been erased.  This frame highlights the saint’s portrayal and again creates the devotional parallel of text and image found in the Regnault edition.  In a few cases, however, the woodcut border has been maintained and painted, thus reducing the prominence of the saint's image (e.g. fol. 107v).


The size of the illustrations used for the Hours of the Passion is also particularly noteworthy.  Again, Vérard drew upon a set of woodcuts used in an undated and seemingly unrecorded edition of the Nativité et Passion de Jesus produced by François Regnault.[8]  Very similar in format and design to the Oraisons, the Passion is illustrated by a set of woodcuts roughly equal in size (91 x 70 mm) to those of the saints.  As noted earlier, both the Hours of the Passion and the Hours of the Compassion of our Lady, are mixed with the Hours of the Virgin.  The Hours of the Compassion are not illustrated, but the woodcuts for the Hours of the Passion are interspersed with those for the Hours of the Virgin.  The following six scenes depict the Passion: Christ before Pilate (Prime, fol. 60v), Christ carrying the cross (Terce, fol. 63v), Christ nailed to the cross (Sext, fol. 66 v), Crucifixion (None, 69v), Deposition (Vespers, fol. 72v), Entombment (Compline, fol. 76).  All except the crucifixion belong to Regnault's set.[9]  The Crucifixion is smaller than the others (79 x 56 mm) and is similar to a woodcut of Pentecost (fol. 54v), also from a different set.


A third set of 18 illustrations is used for the principal section of the book, the Hours of the Virgin.  Here, Vérard employed his own set of large woodcuts (120 x 80), which were modeled upon the very famous sets designed by Philippe Pigouchet for Hours produced by Simon Vostre.[10]  These woodcuts, constituting Vérard's fifth set, were in use from ca. 1503-1508.  Four of them are copied from Pigouchet's second set: the chalice which appears on fol. 1 above the title "Hore beate virginis marie ad usum Sarum", the anatomical man with explanatory text in French (fol. 2), the Tree of Jesse (fol. 27v) to announce the Hours of the Virgin, and the Te Deum (fol. 38v) for the prayer to the Trinity, after Lauds.  The remaining 14 cuts are copied from Pigouchet's first set.  Saint John in the cauldron of his martyrdom (fol. 18v) announces the four Gospel readings; the Betrayal of Judas, the Passion story (fol. 22).  The principal sections of the Hours of the Virgin are each marked with a traditional image: Annunciation (Matins, fol. 28), Visitation (Lauds, fol. 33), Nativity (Prime, fol. 57v.), Shepherds in the Fields (Terce, fol. 61v), Magi (Sext, fol. 64v), Presentation (None, fol. 67v), Flight into Egypt (Vespers, fol. 70v), Death of the Virgin (Compline, fol. 73v).  The woodcut of Bathsheba (fol. 120) prefaces the Penitential Psalms, and Dives and Lazarus (fol. 135v), the Office of the Dead which is announced below the cut with the words "Sequntur Vigilie mortuorum."  The woodcut of the Arms of the Passion (a shield bearing a wounded heart encircled by the crown of thorns, hanging on a cross, supported by two angels and surrounded by instruments of the Passion) is used on fol. 40v for the prayer to the Cross.  The large cut of the Crucifixion (fol. 95v) is used as an "Image of Pity" whereas a smaller cut of the same subject is used on fol. 69v as noted above, for the Hours of the Passion.  The text preceding the large Crucifixion specifies that they who devoutly say 5 Pater Nosters, 5 Aves, and a Credo before this image are granted 32,755 years of pardon; however, the "ymage of pyte" is described as "these armes of Cristes passion" which suggests that the intended woodcut was not the Crucifixion but the cut used on the last page of the book, the "Man of Sorrows" with symbols of the Passion which is, in fact, normally labeled an "imago pietatis." 


Two smaller cuts from Vérard's Grandes Heures are also found in this edition of Hours: the Virgin in glory, used for the "Salve Regina" (fol. 77) and the Apparition of the Virgin, illustrating both "O intemerata" (fol. 80v) and "Obsecro te" (fol. 82v).  Small woodcuts of the Evangelists are also used at the beginning of the Gospel readings of Luke, Matthew, and Mark (fols. 20-21v).


In addition to the large images, this edition employs illustrated borders.  A set of 12 cuts of the sibyls is used, three to a page, for the outer margin, each cut measuring 67 x 41 mm.  By the late 15th century, the sibyls had become popular figures for Books of Hours.[11]  They are recognizable by the object each holds in her hand, which corresponds to her prophecy concerning the life of Christ.  In some editions, the image of each sibyl is accompanied by her name and her prophecy, in Latin or French.  Although there was often confusion in identifying the sibyls, the standard depiction in French Books of Hours establishes the name, object, and prophecy as follows:


         Sibyl   Persique (lantern)                        The devil crushed by a Virgin

                                     Libique  (candle)                          Jesus filled with the Holy Spirit

                     Erythrée (rose)                              Annunciation

                     Cumane   (gold basin;                 Nativity

                        or the wound in Christ's side)           

                     Samienne (cradle)                        Nativity

                     Cimmérienne  (horn)                   Virgin nurses Christ

                     Européenne   (sword)                 Flight into Egypt

                     Tiburtine (hand)                           Buffeting of Christ                  

                     Agrippine   (whip)                       Flagellation

                     Delphique   (thorns)                    Crown of thorns

                     Hellespontine (cross)                  Crucifixion

                     Phrygienne  (banner)                   Resurrection


On two pages, borders from Vérard's Grandes Heures appear instead (fols. 71, 72v).[12]  These consist of three images separated by lines of Latin text, the image at the top representing a figure of God or Christ, while the two images below depict groups of praying figures.  There is no apparent reason for the substitution of these borders for the sibyls, and it seems surprising that, for these two pages only, a different border was used.


In the lower margin, scenes from the life of Christ or of the virtues defeating the vices are displayed in a rectangular footpiece.  Only four scenes (49 x 78 mm) from the life of Christ are used, in a very repetitive fashion: Nativity, Shepherds in the Fields, Massacre of the Innocents, Crucifixion.  The cuts (43 x 78) of the seven cardinal vices overcome by the corresponding virtues are modeled upon a set by Vostre, but the two sets are distinguishable especially by the placement of the French text within banderoles.  In these woodcuts, virtues and vices are represented by fully-clothed female figures, the virtues mounted on elegant horses brandishing a spear against the vices, each of which is astride an emblematic animal: lion (Pride), monkey (Avarice), goat (Lust), dog (Envy), pig (Gluttony), bear (Anger), mule (Sloth).  The set first appears at Lauds in the hours of the Virgin: Diligence trebuche Paresse (fol. 33v), Charité trebuche Envie (34r), Pascience trebuche Yre (35r), Humilité trebuche Orgueil (35v), Chasteté trebuche Luxure (36v), Sobriété trebuche Glotonnie (38r), Largesse trebuche Avarice (56v). 


Whenever the text is too short to fill a page, additional horizontal cuts of grotesques are stacked above the other footpieces to reduce the empty space (e.g. fols. 45v, 49, 52).  The Gothic arches found at the top of some full-page cuts occasionally constitute a separate block (fol. 53).  Across the top and along the inner margins of the pages, narrow borders of floral designs and grotesques are used. 




VI. Vellum Copies

Vérard was renowned for having at least a few copies of his editions printed on vellum and then painted by hand, blurring the distinction between manuscript and print.  He geared these deluxe "hybrid" books to a wealthy clientele who appreciated the visual and tactile pleasures of colored images and vellum leaves. 


  This edition of Hours is no exception: its three vellum copies have all been illuminated, in a nearly identical fashion.  The painting is not especially refined, and no copy bears a dedication text or miniature, coat of arms or insignia which would indicate special preparation for a specific client.  The copies were surely intended for sale rather than presentation.  Although Vérard usually employed Parisian artists, some stylistic features suggest that these Hours were instead illuminated in England, probably in London: the white buildings with red roofs (e.g. fol. 101v), the style of trees, and the rather pasty faces.[13]  Since the Hours of Sarum were destined for an overseas market, it seems plausible that Vérard had them printed in France, then shipped undecorated to England.  Given their close stylistic resemblance, the three vellum copies were undoubtedly illuminated at the same workshop at the same time. 



VII. The Copenhagen Copy

In the Copenhagen copy, the painters follow the outlines of the woodcuts below, but occasionally eliminate some figures from the original design (fols. 63v, 64v; for comparison, see the woodcut on fol. 63v from the British Library copy).  The paint does not always obscure their presence completely, as the digitalized images demonstrate.


Painting also alters elements in the decor of the image.  The grass at the bottom of the woodcuts is routinely painted over and the open air transformed into the wall of a room, thereby moving the saint indoors with sometimes bizarre results.  Saint Michael slays the dragon, for example, in front of a red curtain with fringe (fol. 41v).  Trees that had only a few branches in the woodcut have been filled with leaves (fol. 42v).  Elsewhere a window is covered (fol. 60v) or a hill eliminated (fol. 76v).  For the image of saint Martin, the woodcut letters "Sancte Marti" on the horse's caparison have been obscured by paint (fol. 105v).  In the Copenhagen copy, the large woodcuts, and the printed borders surrounding them, have been painted in bright colors (as for example, fol. 63v).  On most pages with large woodcuts, however, the border cuts have been erased, and an elaborate gold frame has been painted around the woodcut and the text below.  These frames vary somewhat, with triangular, rectangular, or curved bases and columns of different colors, but usually at the outer margin a gold vine extends in three places from the top and sides, ending in a pompom or fruit (fol. 41v).  The frame is not as wide as the original border cuts, and oftentimes the printed borders show through the page from the opposite side (fol. 54v or 60v, for example).  It should be noted that while the Harvard and Copenhagen copies are very similar in their illumination, the gold frames are not always painted on the same pages.  For example, in the Harvard copy the woodcut of Pentecost (fol. 54v) is surrounded by printed borders of the sibyls which have been painted along with the main image, whereas the same page in the Copenhagen copy has a gold frame in place of the printed borders.  The Morgan copy differs from the other two in that no gold frames have been added; all the border cuts remain, and those surrounding the full-page cuts have, like them, been painted.  Thus while the vellum copies closely resemble each other, they are not identical in terms of the illustration.  As for the text, while it is essentially the same in all copies, occasional hand-written notes or erasures distinguish the copies, as we shall see.


The Reform in England was undoubtedly responsible for some alterations and deletions of both words and images in the various copies.  In the Copenhagen copy, for example, the figure of God in heaven has been scratched out (fols. 28, 47v), as has the Trinity (fol. 38v).  Similarly, the name of saint Thomas, archbishop of Canterbury, has been deleted both from the calendar (December, fol. 8) and before his prayer (fol. 49) although here a later hand has written over the space "De Sancto Thoma Mart."  The Harvard copy has been subjected to similar treatment.  In the calendar, every mention of a pope ("pape" or "pa") has been erased next to the name of the saint.  All references to Thomas have likewise been crossed out or scratched off, although the printed rubric remains on fol. 49: "De sancto thoma. an."  On the other hand, two names of female saints have been added by hand to the litany on fol. 129, "Birgita" above Katherina and "Elizabeth" above Margareta.  The Morgan copy contains a handwritten note on the front fly-leaf that attests to the anti-catholic sentiment which led to the defacement of books as well as the "stripping of the altars"[14] after 1530: "This Book was brought from West Court; it is a Papist Book as I suppose and not to be made use of as is one or 2 more which I cannot find."  In this copy, too, the name of Thomas has been erased (fol. 49), although the surrounding words remain: "De sancto     an.", leaving only a smudge in its place.  References to the pope have been erased from the calendar.  This copy has some curious deletions in the illustrations as well.  The painter has, for example, eliminated the cross held by saint Margaret as well as the palm branch of saint Lawrence.


 Vérard's undated edition of the Hore ad usum Sarum is remarkable for its use of two new sets of woodcuts to illustrate, in a larger than normal format, the suffrages and the Hours of the Passion.  These new illustrations reflect not only Vérard's constant engagement with visual images but also his unfailing attention to innovation, even in the Horae which he had been producing for more than twenty years.  Visually, the Copenhagen copy is more brilliant in color than refined in quality; the painters adhere to the design of the underlying woodcut rather than create a new miniature.  Verbally, some English language errors are noticeable.  Yet this edition of Hours for an English public attests to Vérard's acumen as publisher and bookseller, revealing his interest in expanding his commercial enterprise outside of France and his ability to adjust his editorial program to a new clientele.  Most importantly, however, the deluxe copies of this edition are characteristic of the work by which he achieved renown: printed on vellum and illuminated by hand for wealthy clients, they are quintessentially "pro Antonio Verard."



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Adams, H.M.  Catalogue of Books printed on the continent of Europe, 1501-1600, in Cambridge Libraries.  Cambridge, 1967.


Brunet, J.-C.  Manuel du libraire et de l'amateur de livres.  Paris, 1864.


Catalogi Bibliothecae Thottianae.  Havniae:1795 


Catalogus Bibliothecae Harleianae. London, 1744. 


Catalogue of Manuscripts and Early Printed Books from the Libraries of William Morris, Richard Bennett, Bertram, Fourth Earl of Ashburnham, and Other Sources now forming portion of the Library of J. Pierpont Morgan. London: Chiswick Press, 1907.


Claudin, A. Histoire de l'imprimerie en France au XVe et au XVIe siècle.  Paris, 1900-1914; rpt. Nendeln, 1971.    


Davies, Hugh William.  A Catalogue of a Collection of Early French Books in the Library of C. Fairfax-Murray .  London, 1910.


Delbecq, Jean Baptiste, Wilhelm Ludwig Schreiber,  Paul Heitz.  Vervollständigte Holzschnittfolge der Passion Delbecq-Schreiber nach dem ersten Antwerpener Drücke des Adriaen van Berghen von 1500.  Strassburg, 1932.


Duffy, Eamon.  The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England 1400-1580. New Haven: Yale UP, 1992.


Harthan, John.  The Book of Hours.  New York, 1977.


Hind, Arthur M.  An Introduction to the History of Woodcut.  New York, 1935. rpt. Dover, 1963.


Hoskins, Edgar.  Horae Beatae Mariae Virginis or Sarum and York Primers.  London: Longman, Green, and Co., 1901.


Littlehales, Henry.  The Prymer or Lay Folks' Prayer Book. London: EETS, 1897.


Macfarlane, John. Antoine Vérard.  London: 1900; rpt. Geneva:   Slatkine, 1971.      


Mâle, Emile.  L'Art religieux de la fin du Moyen Age en France. Paris, 1922; rpt. 1969.


Molbech, Chr. Fortegnelse over de paa Pergament trykkede Boger i det store Kongelige Bibliothek.  Copenhagen, 1830, no. 19.


Monceaux, Henri.  Les Le Rouge de Chablis.  Paris, 1896.


Moreau, Brigitte. Inventaire chronologique des éditions parisiennes du XVIe siècle. Paris: I (1501-1510), 1972.


Parke, H.W.  Sibyls and Sibylline Prophecy in Classical Antiquity. London, 1988. 


Renaissance Liturgical Imprints Census (RELICS) http://mirlyn.lib.umich.edu


A Short-Title Catalogue of books printed in England, Scotland, & Ireland, and of English books printed abroad 1475-1640.  First compiled by A.W. Pollard and G.R. Redgrave; second edition, revised & enlarged, by W.A. Jackson, F.S. Ferguson, K.A. Pantzer. London, The Bibliographical Society, 1976.


Wieck, Roger.  Painted Prayers: The Book of Hours in Medieval and Renaissance Art.  New York: Braziller, 1997.


Wieck, Roger.  Time Sanctified: The Book of Hours in Medieval Art and Life.  Baltimore: The Walters Art Gallery, 1988.


Winn, Mary Beth.  Anthoine Vérard, Parisian publisher, 1485-1512: Prologues, Poems, and Presentations.  Geneva: Droz, 1997.



                                                     * * * * *



Horae ad usum Sarum (Salisbury) ca. 1503    


Macfarlane 229=232.  26 l. (143 x 77 on page 219 x 153)

170 f. a10 b-x8  113G

                                    Refs: Brunet 134; Panzer vii, 504; Hoskins 30; STC (2)  15901; Pollard p. 473; RELICS 7048; Molbech 19;  Thott  p. 144 no. 467; PML 590; Adams 1085; Moreau I (1503):   76.



Cambridge, MA, HarvUL, HEW 6.10.12

(vel; lacks ff. a1-a3) (ex: Thomas Caren, H.E. Widener)

            Cambridge UL

                 (lacks a1-4, a10, b1, b8, e4m, r7-8)

Copenhagen, RL

     (vel; lacks ff. a1-a2) Perg.19 (ex Harley IV, 522)

                        London, BL C.35.e.4

                             (lacks ff. a1-a4) (Ex Rychard Croft; lib Wolstain Paston dono Frat. Ed.)

New York, PML 590

     (vel; E.10.D) (ex: De Roca, R.  Bennett)



Notes: Description of contents by Erik Drigsdahl 2002





[1] See Macfarlane, p. 132.

[2] For a discussion of Vérard's books for the English king, see Winn, Anthoine Vérard, pp. 138-153.

[3] There are a few inconsistencies: c1 is not signed, f1 is signed only f. In the Copenhagen copy, some leaves have been numbered by hand: b4, k4, l2, m2. 

[4] Littlehales refers to these as "Memorials," each consisting of an Anthem, followed by its versicle, response, and prayer (The Prymer, part II, p. lvi, n. 1).

[5]  British Library, IC 43967; BMC VIII, p. 398 and pl. LXVIII; Harvard University, Typ. Inc. 8781.5.  I wish to thank Ursula Baurmeister of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France for her generous assistance with the identification of type.   Special thanks to Karen Skovgaard-Petersen of the Royal Library, Copenhagen for proposing the digitalization of Vérard’s Sarum Hours.  For their responses to questions related to this edition, I am grateful to David Shaw and Des McTernan at the British Library, Nicholas Smith at Cambridge University Library, Hope Mayo and William Stoneman at the Houghton Library, Harvard University, John Bidwell at the Pierpont Morgan Library, and Paul Needham at the Scheide Collection, Princeton University.  Thanks to Stephanie Rambaud of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France for information about type and illustrations, and to my colleague Martha Fleming for insights into Middle English.

[6] B. Moreau's attribution to the printer Guillaume Le Rouge  seems based on the unreliable conclusions of Henri Monceaux and should be disregarded.  In his study, Les Le Rouge de Chablis (Paris, 1896), Monceaux attributed numerous editions to Le Rouge, without sufficient justification.

[7] Claudin reproduces four of the woodcuts on p. 545.

[8] Again Claudin seems to be the only bibliographer to mention this book.  It is listed in his table of printers (IV, 222) under the heading of François Regnault.  He suggests that both the Oraisons and the Passion were printed by either J. Trepperel or Michel Le Noir.

[9] These woodcuts seem to be copies of a series of 50 illustrating the Life and Passion of Christ, printed at Antwerp by Hendrik Eckert of Homburg in 1500, 1503, and 1510. For reproductions, see Jean Baptiste Delbecq, Wilhelm Ludwig Schreiber, and Paul Heitz, Vervollständigte holzschnittfolge der Passion Delbecq-Schreiber nach dem ersten Antwerpener drucke des Adriaen van Berghen von 1500. Strassburg, 1932. Arthur M. Hind provides one example in An Introduction to the History of Woodcut, II, 584, fig. 338.

[10] Useful descriptions of these illustrations, with reproductions, are found in Hugh William Davies, A Catalogue of a Collection of Early French Books in the Library of C. Fairfax-Murray (London, 1910), I, 264-289 and II, 1077-1078.

[11] On the development of this motif, see Emile Mâle, L'Art religieux de la fin du Moyen Age en France (Paris, 1922; rpt. 1969), 253-77; H.W. Parke, Sibyls and Sibylline Prophecy in Classical Antiquity (London, 1988). 

[12] In the Harvard copy, the printed border on fol. 72v has been erased and a gold frame painted in its place.  Although it is tempting to interpret this as an effort to remove the irregular printed border, the interpretation is weakened by the fact that fol. 71 retains the printed border from the Grandes Heures.

[13] I am grateful to Isabelle Delaunay of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France for these observations.

[14] See the study by Eamon Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England 1400-1580 (New Haven: Yale UP, 1992).