Book of Hours

Utrecht, Netherlands


Inventory sheet

Book of Hours with 214+2 folios on vellum (fine parchment made from animal foetal skin), illustrated with 11 illuminations. Written in Flemish, it was produced in the Utrecht region in the 15th century. It bears an ownership signature that associates it with Gonçalo Brandão, a relative of João Brandão, the king’s treasurer and accountant in Porto from 1472.

The Flemish books of hours are unusual in that most of them followed the translation of Gerard Groote, an evangelical scholar and preacher, and a key figure in the religious reform movement called Devotio Moderna. It was precisely his writings that introduced the tradition of ‘methodical prayer’, organising exercises day by day and week by week. The philosopher and humanist, Erasmus of Rotterdam was brought up in this tradition, which is considered decisive in the advent of the Protestant reformation. The presence of this book in the hands of a Portuguese (for whom the Flemish language would have been no obstacle) bears witness to the presence of this reform movement among the 15th century Portuguese elite.

It was acquired in 1886 by Eduardo Allen, director of the Museu Municipal.