This finely crafted manuscript belongs to 'The Golden Age of Dutch Manuscript Painting' since it brings together two outstanding workshops of the eastern Netherlands in the second half of the 15th century: these are the so-called Masters of the Zwolle Bible working in Zwolle, responsible for the miniatures with their refined piety, and the Masters of Margriet Uutenham known from Arnhem, who provided the richly gilded decoration and inventive patterning of the juxtaposed text pages.
The miniatures are, as usual in Netherlandish Books of Hours, painted on inserted leaves. From the onset, the manuscript was decorated with twenty-four large initials with illuminated borders.
The Masters of the Zwolle Bible were named for the six-volume Bible written for Herman Droem. The Brothers in Zwolle are also known to have provided illumination for many Books of Hours.
The “Masters” of Margriet Uutenham can be identified with the Regular Canonesses of Bethany, whose scribal activity is documented from 1451 onwards; this style flourished between 1460 and 1480. As did many communities of Brethren, the Sisters of Bethany in Arnhem supported themselves through book production. The sisters lived according to the principles of the Devotio Moderna and avoided ostentation for themselves, while they believed that abundant decoration in their works honoured God. The present manuscript is an eloquent embodiment of their ethos. In our case, however, the lavish use of gold in the initials and in the border decoration, as well as the fact that hardly any miniaturists are known from Arnhem, point to a rich patroness rather than a member of the order.