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Book of Hours Number 4

Book of Hours, Use of Paris, in Latin

C.1470-1500, France

Dunfermline Reid 4



Ruling in pencil. 12 lines per page on ff. .




Gothic Quadrata, black ink that has disintegrated a bit on some pages. There is a second, finer hand beginning on f.19r, at matins.




Not an original binding. One of the quires is wrinkled on the spine edge.


Created in France. This is evident from the decorations, especially the squares of red and blue with white line-designs and a gold circle in them, which strongly resemble other French books of hours such as Newberry Library, MSS 82, 52, 50.5, and 43.


1. ff.1r-12v. Calendar

2. f.13r. Beginning of Hours of the Virgin

3. f.19r. *’Here begins Matins 1 leaf missing’. Probably Reid’s hand.

4. f.49v illegible marginalia

5. ff.57v and 58r. A leaf appears to be missing between these two leaves: the quires are wrinkled near the spine and Psalm 84 is missing. However, there is no stub of a leaf.  

6. ff.71r-72v. Stub of one leaf between these two leaves. *‘two leaves of nones missing’ *‘two leaves of sext missing’. Probably Reid’s hand.

7. f.84. The corner of this leaf has been torn and then repaired; possibly a modern repair of letters, as well: the ‘G’ does not look original.



Abstract designs extend out from initials and down some borders. One on f.78v turns into a dragon.


Initials beginning sections such as each of the readings and psalms are in gold leaf, and put in a square of red and blue ink. Vine scrolls flow from the top and bottom right-hand corners of the square. However, the first initials of verses are plain capitals in black ink, without any added color. Instead, verses are marked by beginning on a new line.


When a section break leaves part of a line blank, the empty space is filled in with a blue and red rectangle with a circle of gold leafing in the middle. These very closely resemble other French books of hours, as mentioned above.  


This is a slightly higher quality book than Dunfermline Reid MSS 5 and 3. The writing is consistent and precise, though the ink has disintegrated a bit on some pages. The scribe is liberal in his use of space: there are wide margins throughout the book and in the hymns each verse begins on a new line. This book is missing more pages than others in Reid’s collection, but it is not likely that the pages were taken for their decoration. Some of the pages missing mark the start of offices (such as Matins, near f.19r) where one might expect to find more decoration, but the beginning of other hours throughout the book are not decorated. Furthermore, some of the missing pages mark only psalms, which are not highly decorated throughout the text, either.

 Many thanks to volunteer Abigail Johnston from the University of St Andrews who taught herself rare book cataloguing and found out so much more about George Reid's manuscript Books of Hours



Newberry Library, MSS 82, 52, 50.5, and 43