Book of hours
Manuscripts and documents
ink, paint and gold leaf on vellum in leather bindingOrder this image
Powis Castle and Garden, Powys (Accredited Museum)
A Book of Hours is essentially a collection of Christian prayers for recitation at different times or 'hours' of the day. It was a prayer book produced for lay people and intended for reading in the home enabling the user to pray at the same times as those following a monastic life. Lady Eleanor used her Book of Hours to remind her of important anniversaries writing these dates against the Feast Days of the Catholic Calendar at the front of her book. She includes the birthdays of herself, her husband William, and her children.
15th century Book of Hours belonging to Lady Eleanor Percy (see 1180904), Lady Powis (1582/3-1650), daughter of the 8th Earl of Northumberland and wife of William, first Lord Powis (1574-1656). Illuminated manuscript on vellum. The Book of Hours was produced by a commercial publishing house in the Low Countries (Netherlands) but intended for the English market. Its arrangement, 'Use of Sarum', and the choice of subjects from the Passion rather than the Infancy Cycle to introduce the various hours is common in Books of Hours intended for the English market. The Book is complete, apart from the four text leaves, one at the end of the devotions to Christ, one in the penitental psalms, one in the vigils of the dead and one in the psalter to St. Jerome. In the course of Victorian rebinding, the devotions of the saints which follow the calender have become slightly disordered, the prayers for St. George having been separated from their accompanying miniature.
Accepted by HM Treasury on 21st March, 1963 in lieu of tax and conveyed to National Trust ownership in 1992