Book of Hours (Use of Rome)

Chester Beatty Hours


Sydney, Ian Jack Collection

General Information

Title Book of Hours (Use of Rome)
Material Parchment
Place of Origin Paris, France
Date of Origin 1408

Original Condition

Page Height 182 – 183 mm
Page Width 122 – 123 mm
Height of Written Area 112 – 114 mm
Width of Written Area 81 – 83 mm
Number of Columns 1
Number of Lines 15
Ruling ruled in brown ink

187 leaves, later foliation (from at least 1929) in pencil

More about the Condition

The paint loss along the edges of the leaf occurred from water damage, the result of a hail storm in August 1846 that flooded the basement of John Boykett Jarman's London home where his collection of rare books was stored.

Current Condition

Dimensions 182 x 123 mm

Book Decoration and Musical Notation

Persons: Boucicaut Master


  • Content Item



The earliest documented record of the manuscript dates to the description in the sale catalogue of  the collection of Sir John Boykett Jarman (1782-1864), auctioned by Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge, 13-14 June 1864. The description (lot 47) states that the Book of Hours was "undoubtedly the Prayer Book of the King of France" because its binding displayed his arms. 

The manuscript was in Jarman's possession from at least 1846, when it (and other items in his collection) suffered water damage when his house was flooded during a severe storm.

Publisher Edward Arnold (1857-1942), the highest bidder, bought the manuscript for the sum of £13 15s. The Arnold collection was subsequently auctioned by Sotheby's, 6 May 1929 (lot 240). The Book of Hours passed into the hands of Chaundy, booksellers in Oxford, and in September was bought by Sir Alfred Chester Beatty (1875-1968). Beatty dimantled the manuscript and mounted many of the 28 leaves holding miniatures. He kept some for his collection, gifted three to Princeton University in 1931 and sold six through Sotheby's, 22 March 1932 (lots 322-327). After his death the remaining miniatures and other leaves were auctioned by Sotheby's, 24 June 1969 (lots  58A-58K). The bulk of the leaves were purchased by English book dealers Alan G. Thomas and Folio Fine Art Ltd (the source of this leaf).


The manuscript is one of a few securely dated Books of Hours. The date 1408 is  given in the colophon (f. 158v) now held in the Chester Beatty Library. Previously, the colophon was part of the Arcana Collection auctioned by Christie's, 7 July 2010 (Part I, lot 22). The scribe has written Factum est anno mo cccco viijo quo ceciderunt pontes parisius - 'made in the year 1408, when the bridges of Paris toppled'. This is a reference to the severe winter of 1407/08 when the Seine River flooded and three of the city’s main bridges (the Petit Pont, the Grand Pont and the Pont Neuf) collapsed and were washed away.

Christopher de Hamel noted the similarity of this inscription and the one found in the Bodleian Library Book of Hours MS Douce 144.