Book of Hours of Margaret of Austria


+39 333 9860 410

Illuminated Facsimiles

Book of Hours of Margaret of Austria

Alternative titles
Libro d’Ore di Margherita d’Austria e Alessandro de’ Medici – Libro de horas de Margarita de Austria y Alejandro de Médici – Stundenbuch der Margarete von Österreich und Alessandro de’ Medici.
Physical features
Codex on parchment, dimensions 192 x 109 mm, 150 folios (300 pages).
Twentieth-century leather binding, gold impressions, gilt and gauffered edges.
Italy (Florence), 16th century (1536).
Patronage and owners
The manuscript was commissioned by Alessandro de’ Medici (b. 1510, d. 1537), the first Duke of the Florentine Republic, as a wedding gift for his wife Margaret of Austria (b. 1522, d. 1586), illegitimate daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V (b. 1500, d. 1558). Their coats of arms and portraits appear at the beginning of the Officium Virginis Mariae (ff. 25v-26r), and the name «Margherita» is often used in place of the praying one in several prayers. Alessandro de’ Medici was assassinated in 1537 at the hands of his cousin Lorenzo (Lorenzino) di Pierfrancesco de’ Medici, also known as Lorenzaccio (b. 1514, d. 1548), exponent of the cadet branch Popolano (or Trebbio) of the Medici family. On 1538 Margaret married Ottavio Farnese (b. 1524, d. 1586), Duke of Parma and brother of Alessandro Farnese (b. 1520, d. 1589), becoming Duchess of Parma and Piacenza and Governor of the Netherlands.
Present location
In the 18th century the manuscript became part of the endowment of the Biblioteca Corsiniana in Rome, where it can still be found under the shelfmark Ms. 55.K.16 (Cors. 1232).
ChristianityPrivate devotional books.
Like any book of hours, the codex contains a collection of devotional texts for the use of the laity. The name «book of hours» comes from its nucleus, the Hours of the Virgin (the Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary). The Book of Hours of Margaret of Austria and Alessandro de’ Medici contains: the Calendar section that precedes the devotional texts; the pericopes of the Gospels; the Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary; the Penitential Psalms; the litanies; the Office of the Dead; the Hours of the Cross; the Hours of the Holy Spirit; a large sections of prayers with a closing intercession prayer to Saint Margaret.
Littera antiqua.
The illustrative apparatus consists of 7 full-page miniatures at the beginning of the most important sections of the book: the Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Penitential Psalms are introduced by a double full-page miniature, while one full-page miniature introduces the Office of the Dead, the Hours of the Cross and the Hours of the Holy Spirit. Small illustrated boxes point out both the sections within the texts, and the texts of secondary importance (e.g. the pericopes of the Gospels and the prayer to Saint Margaret). The miniatures also include figurated initials, large decorated initials, gilt initials of various sizes, decorative surrounds and borders.
Giovanni Boccardi, also known as Maestro Giovanni or Boccardino the Elder (b. 1460, d. 1529), and his son Francesco, also known with the pseudonym Boccardino the Younger (b. 1480, d. 1547).
Italian Renaissance.

Data sheet: Illuminated Facsimiles®



Libro d’Ore di Margherita d’Austria e Alessandro de’ Medici

Publisher – Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana – Treccani (Rome, 2007).
Series – Tesori Svelati.
Limited edition – 750 hand-numbered 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 – Velvet hand-made cover with medallion on front board. The binding might not correspond to that of the original document as it appears at the present moment. Trimming and composition of the leaves reproduce the profile and structure of the original document.
Commentary – Italian language commentary volume, size 145 x 235 mm, 201 pages, color photos. Introduction and essays by: Massimo Bray; Gino Benzoni; Marco Guardo; Francesca Manzari.
Slipcase – The facsimile and the commentary volume are housed in a double-compartment leather case.
Certificate of authenticity – The certificate is printed on the colophon of the facsimile. It bears the copy number and is signed by Francesco Paolo Casavola (President of the Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana in 2007) and Giovanni Conso (President of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei in 2007).

Copyright photos: Illuminated Facsimiles®

About The Author