Book of Hours of Renée of France

Modena, Biblioteca Estense Universitaria, α.U.2.28=MS Lat. 614 (stolen in 1994)

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Book of Hours of Renée of France

Modena, Biblioteca Estense Universitaria, α.U.2.28=MS Lat. 614 (stolen in 1994)

Alternative titles
Libro di Preghiere di Renata di Francia – Renée of France Book of Prayers – Blumengebetbuch der Renée de France.
Physical features
Codex on parchment, dimensions 122 x 88 mm, 52 pages.
Binding
Eighteenth-century pink velvet binding with embroidery and closing laces.
Origin
France (Paris), 16th century (ca. 1517).
History of the manuscript
The manuscript was written and illuminated for Renée of France (b. 1510, d. 1585), daughter of the French king Louis XII (b. 1462, d. 1515) and Anne of Brittany (b. 1477, d. 1514). In 1528 Renata married Ercole II d’Este (b. 1508, d. 1559), Duke of Ferrara, Modena and Reggio, and the manuscript came to Ferrara as part of the new duchess’s dowry. In 1560 Renata abjured the Catholic religion and retired to the castle of Montargis, a refuge for Calvinists and Huguenots. Her «heretical» books were burned, except for a few of Catholic observance, including this small prayer book. Although it had – probably – always remained in the Estense patrimony, traces of it were lost until 6 May 1780, when Girolamo Tiraboschi (b. 1731, d. 1794), director of the library of Duke Francesco III d’Este (b. 1698, d. 1780), mentioned it in an inventory and noted it as a «Libretto d’Orazioni fatto ad uso di Renea di Valois». It remained in the Biblioteca Estense in Modena until 1994, when – having gone on display at the Abbey of Montecassino – it was illicitly stolen never to be found again.
Genre
ChristianityPrivate devotional books.
Language
Latin.
Decoration
12 miniatures, 3 of which are full-page, 25 pages with frames and marginal friezes, 112 illuminated capitals.
Illuminator
More recent criticism has identified the illuminator as the Maître de Claude de France, i.e. the Parisian artist of the codices of Claude of France (b. 1499, d. 1524), sister of Renata and Queen Consort of France.
Style
Les petites prières de Renée de France represents one of the most valuable livres d’heures of the early 16th century, admirable Renaissance masterpieces still in vogue in European courts even after the invention of printing.

Data sheet: Il Bulino edizioni d’arte

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FACSIMILE EDITION(S)

Libro d’Ore di Renata di Francia

Publisher(s) – Il Bulino edizioni d’arte (Modena, 1998). This is a co-edition with Faksimile Verlag (Lucerne/Munich, 1998).
Series – Ars Illuminandi.
Limited edition – The unique and unrepeatable world exclusive print run is 999 numbered and certified copies. A further 66 copies belong to the archives of the publisher and international co-publishers.
Type of reproduction – Full-size colour reproduction of the entire original document. The facsimile reproduces the physical characteristics of the original manuscript as closely as possible, with the aim of substituting it in scientific research and in the libraries of bibliophile collectors.
Binding – The facsimile comes with a rich and elegant binding that faithfully repeats the 18th-century binding of the original in antique pink velvet, with silver thread embroidery and closing laces.
Commentary – Commentary volume in Italian, 160 pages. Texts by Ernesto Milano and Myra Dickman Orth.
Slipcase – Wooden slipcase with satin-lined interior and ornate leather exterior.
Certificate of authenticity – The certificate of authenticity with the copy number is attached to the colophon of the facsimile.

Copyright photos: Il Bulino edizioni d’arte

ArtCodex

Libro di Preghiere di Renata di Francia

Publisher – ArtCodex (Castelvetro di Modena, 2014).
Limited edition – 999 copies.
Type of reproduction – Full-size colour reproduction of the entire original document. The facsimile reproduces the physical characteristics of the original manuscript as closely as possible, with the aim of substituting it in scientific research and in the libraries of bibliophile collectors.
Binding – The facsimile comes with a rich and elegant binding that faithfully repeats the 18th-century binding of the original in antique pink velvet, with silver thread embroidery and closing laces.
Commentary – Commentary volume in Italian.
Certificate of authenticity – The certificate of authenticity with the copy number is attached to the colophon of the facsimile.

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Il Bulino edizioni d'arte