Text below from source: The Morgan Library and Museum

Digital facsimile can be found here.

This Book of Hours, referred to as the Black Hours, is one of a small handful of manuscripts written and illuminated on vellum that is stained or painted black. The result is quite arresting. The text is written in silver and gold, with gilt initials and line endings composed of chartreuse panels enlivened with yellow filigree. Gold foliage on a monochromatic blue background makes up the borders. The miniatures are executed in a restricted palette of blue, old rose, and light flesh tones, with dashes of green, gray, and white. The solid black background is utilized to great advantage, especially by means of gold highlighting.

The anonymous painter of the Black Hours is an artist whose style depended mainly upon that of Willem Vrelant, one of the dominant illuminators working in Bruges from the late 1450s until his death in 1481. As in the work of Vrelant, figures in angular drapery move somewhat stiffly in shallowly defined spaces. The men’s flat faces are dominated by large noses.

“Black Hours,” for Rome use. Belgium, Bruges, c. 1470 (MS M.493).

Hedgehogs (c. 1200) covered in bristles and prone to roll up in a ball, carry grapes back to their young by impaling them on their spines.

The Aberdeen Bestiary

"The hedgehog is covered in prickles. From this it gets its name, because it bristles, when it is enclosed in its prickles and is protected by them on all sides against attack. For as soon as it senses anything, it first bristles then, rolling itself into a ball, regains its courage behind its armour. The hedgehog has a certain kind of foresight: as it tears off a grape, it rolls backwards on it and so delivers it to its young. It is also called echinus, urchin. This ‘urchin’, thinking ahead, protects itself with twin ventilation ducts, son that when it thinks that the north wind is about to blow, it blocks the northern one, and when it knows that the south wind is giving warning of mist in the air, it goes to the northern passage to avoid the vapours blown from the opposite direction, which will do it harm.”

Translation & Transcription Copyright 1995
© Colin McLaren & Aberdeen University Library

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