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Unpublished Paper

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Despite the ubiquitous nature of medieval Books of Hours, prayer books for the laity, each manuscript presents evidence about its production and reception. This thesis undertakes the study of a little known Book of Hours housed at the Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University. First, an analysis of the manuscript determined all the components of its production including the preparation of the pages, the assemblage, the script and the illumination. This process in concordance with the information provided by the museum, scholarly input, and heraldic evidence implied a fifteenth century provincial French production. Through formal, comparative, and iconographical analysis such implications were confirmed and a potential Avignon workshop identified. Specific miniatures from the book was then considered to ascertain how a medieval patron may have related to and reflected upon such imagery. This iconographical analysis demonstrated that medieval imagery is multivalent in that it signifies and embodies the various texts in the book, providing visuals for prolonged and contemplative prayer. Also, imagery is used to inform and reinforce the medieval 4 ideologies and attitudes regarding domesticity, conceptions of race, and sexuality. The aim of this thesis is to contribute to the scholarship on illuminated manuscripts as well as shed light on an obscure Book of Hours that could conceivably be from the workshop of Pierre Villate and created at the request of the Avignon nobleman, Jean-Baptiste de Brancas in 1474.


A Thesis Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in Art History at The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee