Illuminated Manuscripts, Facsimiles, Recent Acquisitions

Recent Acquisition: Unwrapping the 'Isabella Hours' Facsimile

Submitted by Anne Trenholme on

Ever wonder what it looks like when a new book arrives at the library? What about one out of a limited edition? Watch the video below to see a facsimile of the the museum's Hours of Queen Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain being unwrapped!

Cleveland's Isabella Hours is a masterful example of the Ghent-Bruges school of manuscript illumination in the early sixteenth century. This style emphasizes color; realistic depictions of plants, animals, and landscape; and large, ornate border decorations. The original Hours of Queen Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain is on view in gallery 110. For more examples of manuscript illumination from the Netherlands and Belgium, stop by the temporary exhibition The Netherlandish Miniature 1260-1550 in nearby gallery 115, available until December 2014.

The collection of manuscript facsimiles is not a recent development for art museum libraries. Facsimiles facilitate research of these delicate, light sensitive objects. Where a scholar might not be able to obtain access to the original manuscript, a facsimile allows more intense study. As a corrolary to this, reference librarian Christine Edmonson provided the following insight of a research trip: "Intent on viewing the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, I purchased a train ticket and traveled to the Musée Condé in Chantilly, only to find a facsimile permanently on display."

In recent years, the library has been amassing an excellent collection of medieval manuscript facsimiles. For those interested in viewing the Isabella Hoursit is on display in the reference room vitrine with another recent acquisition, the Peterborough Bestiary