es Très Belles Heures , a book of hours, is one of the masterpieces of 15th century European book illumination. Lavishly decorated, the book is a small part of a much larger manuscript. Since 1956 it has been kept in the National Library of France and is revered as a national treasure. Each of the 25 illustrated pages has its own unique design. The large miniature above the text is complemented by an ornamental initial extending over four lines. Below the text is another illustration framed in a decorative border of gold, applied in leaf form and by brush. Tendrils of vine leaves sprout from the border and spread over the page. The occasionally somewhat garish colour contrasts and almost fanciful arrangement of the scenes suggest that the artist tackled the commission with a rare enthusiasm.
Every single detail of the original has been reproduced exactly in this facsimile: the miniatures decorated with gold leaf and paint, the text and the historicised initials, the borders and ornamentation at the end of each line.
The magnificent red leather cover is exquisitely tooled with gold and decorated with a coat of arms, while the bottom and inner edges are gilded. Full descriptions of the miniatures together with the history of the book, the artist and his patron can be found in the commentary volume.
The Facsimile Edition, which is limited to 980 copies world-wide, has 252 pages, each 280 x 200 mm in size, and together with the commentary volume is delivered in a protective acrylic glass case .
A documentation kit containing 2 sample pages, in the original size, from the Très Belles Heures Fine Art Facsimile Volume, plus an illustrated, 12 page information brochure, is available for $US70.