From the first decade of the 15th century, this sparkling Book of Hours is quite unusual in its layout. The use of two columns for a Book of Hours is extremely rare in general – indeed, the use of this layout is almost unique to the patronage of the Duke of Berry and his family – and the format here recalls the Hours’ forerunner, the Breviary. Moreover, the three fine miniatures in the book at hand corroborate the provenance hypothesis: the present artist was working at the Duke of Berry’s court and was named after a Virgil manuscript for Jacques Courau, the Duke’s treasurer and maître d’hôtel.
lthough sparingly illustrated, this is a princely manuscript of exceedingly high quality. The Virgil Master’s style is quite recognisable in our book. Dainty figures with pale, rosy faces have delicately defined features, round beady eyes, and a fine, bright line to define the bridge of the nose.