Miniature Book of Hours, c. 1450?

This manuscript book measures 2 7/8” x 2 1/8” x 1 1/8” (7.3 x 5.3 x 2.8 cm). It was written in black and red ink on laid paper by a scribe named Gerardus Beylarus c. 1450. The volume was bound in full dark leather with wooden boards. The binding is possibly contemporary with the writing. The wooden boards are intact. The leather is largely missing except for the turn-ins in some areas. There are parchment flyleaves, now detached from the boards, and somewhat cockled. There is intact sewing on three split thongs. The thongs remain laced into the boards although the lower two are broken on the lower board. The primary headbands are intact, but the secondary headband is missing at the head and only a few threads remain at the tail. There is a metal and leather strap clasp but most of strap is missing. The flyleaves are loose at the back. The rear flyleaf has ink writing on the spine edge of the pastedown verso. It does not appear to be manuscript waste. Possibly the binder’s name and date, but it is difficult to read because of worming.


Conservation treatment:

There are new extended linings between the sewing supports, meant to reinforce the board attachment while allowing viewing of the sewing and endbands. The linings are multiple layers of kozo paper adhered with wheat starch paste. The linings are adhered on both the inside and outside of the boards. The color of the lining paper is intended to blend somewhat into the discolored binding without blending in too much. They are meant to be clearly viewed as mends. The loose flyleaves were hinged onto the textblock using kozo paper and wheat starch paste. To ensure the lacing remains visible, the pastedowns were not adhered back down onto the boards. The clasp was left as is.

Protective enclosure: Oversized cloth clamshell box with inset opening for the binding and titling on a paper label.

Conserved in 2021.


A detail of the packed sewing and endband tie-downs.








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Cambridge MA 02140 USA 617-304-2652 james@reid-cunningham.com