Christmas Countdown: 7 More Sleeps!

French Book of Hours, folio 37 recto (the front-side of the 37th leaf), second half of 15th century

I just realized that, while I feature Books of Hours all the time on this blog, I’ve never really gone into depth about what they are. Now, if I were to describe a Book of Hours, I would just say that it’s a personal prayer book, but I feel like that description would leave my readers unsatisfied. So, to satisfy all of y’all, I’ll just copy and paste what Glenn Gunhouse wrote for

In the Gothic period, and especially in the thirteenth century, there was a strong desire on the part of lay people to imitate the devotional practices of monks and nuns. The breviary was far too complex for use by lay people, however. A simpler book was therefore developed which, though resembling a breviary, was far less variable, and therefore easier to use. This new type of book was the “Book of Hours.”

Nicely worded, Glenn. Readers – if you want to know more about Books of Hours, check out Glenn talks a lot about the structure of a typical Book of Hours, and also provides a lot of useful links if you want to learn even more.

Now, the picture above.

For a man who is supposed to be 60+, Joseph is looking great for his age. I’m pretty sure I’ve dated guys that look older than Joseph does in this picture. Which is kind of creepy, I guess.

Also, I couldn’t help but notice how old Baby Jesus looks. I think this miniature’s artist had a little bit of trouble when it came to accurately portraying people’s ages.

And you know what else he had trouble with?

Remembering to draw Baby Jesus’ hands.

A Baby Jesus with no hands? Now that is creepy.


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