Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Books on Art and History: THE HASTINGS HOURS

I finally got my scanner working and so now I can at last display the wonderful art and art books I've been reading and collecting.  This will be a new series of mine- so get ready- if you love art in history, I've got plenty of goodies for you!

Today, I'll begin my series with This precious little book that was  given to me as a  gift from my good friend Marie, over at the Burton Review.  I was so delighted to receive The Hastings Hours, by Janet Backhouse, especially because it depicts the miniatures found in the devotionals of Hours to the Virgin Mary- but because it also represents the last form of medeival art.  This illuminated book does not contain the essential components of the Hastings hours per se, meaning the prayers, what it does contain though, are the exquisitely painted miniatures representing the saints or Biblical episodes as venerated back then.

These types of illuminated manuscripts used to be big business back in the Middle Ages- and the Hastings Hours contains some of the earliest forms to be found. Although the artist is unknown, the same technique and hand is used, leading scholars to agree that it may have been the work of one sole artist for this particular manuscript.

It's believed that William Hastings-( you remember him back from the days of Edward IV, the King's good friend who also happened to marry a Neville; sister of the Kingmaker)..anyhow...throughout this book there are distinct signs that show that this book did indeed belong to his house.  The Hastings Arms appears in many of the miniatures, signifying some belonging to the name. In regards to the saints painted on several of the pages, these too would suggest personal meaning and importance to Hastings himself, as well.

Hastings' widow, Lady Katherine had the manuscript in her will -but from then on it would seem to have disappeared- up until 1910, when it resurfaced.  Since 1969 it is now part of the British Museum's Department of Manuscripts.

I absolutely loved this precious art work! A little over 5 x 7, and a mere 63 pages.  This gem is filled to the gill with breath-taking art.  Religious artifacts, icons and illuminated books have always fascinated me and I search them out in all history nooks whenever I can- so of course this book thrilled me! Thanks so much Marie- you just  knew I'd love this!

I leave you with some breath-taking miniatures for you to enjoy...

The Annunciation (the right page is slightly cropped, but if you look carefully you can see a bit of the Hastings Arms on the side in black).

Presentation of Christ at the Temple

Here, you can see the Hastings arms (which appears on several miniatures in the book)

St. Sitha - and- St. Sitha's Memorial

Stay tuned for more on special Art Books...I have a very special treat on Palaces!!- another gift from a dear friend, Arleigh.

The Hastings Hours is my first entry for The Art History Reading Challenge.
this year.


Svea Love said...

How wonderful! I am definitely looking forward to your posts on this subject. I always have such trouble finding good art books. Thanks for doing this :)

Michelle Stockard Miller said...

Very nice! I know I will enjoy these posts. Coincidentally, I'm taking an art history class this semester. Maybe you'll post something I can use in class =O)

I did my first "Addicted to the Past" post the other day. Just wanted to let you know since you were the one that gave me such great input about it. Here's the link: http://thetruebookaddict.blogspot.com/2010/01/addicted-to-past-henry-viii-and-anne.html

ceecee said...

Gorgeous book. So glad you got a scanner. It will be fun, I'm sure, and open up all sorts of new possibilities. I don't have one of my own, but a friend lent me his. It's very old and very slow and I can't get the images small enough. It's eating up my memory! Oh the trials and tribulations. You've really taken off with your interviews. You're so good at it, Lucy.

Have a great week, my friend -


BurtonReview said...

How special this post is to my heart, Ms Lucy! I am so glad yhat you enjoyed this gift so much. I am fascinated by its history as well, the moment I had seen "Hastings" I knew it was going to be something worth looking into. I had no idea you would go so far with looking into it, and I totally enjoyed this post.
And now I am looking forward to seeing what Arleigh got you & your clever post on that!!

elena maria vidal said...

I am looking forward to this new series!

Lizzie said...

oooh so pretty that is so freaking cool. I would love to see it too. I love miniature stuff too. So detailed and so tiny it really is amazing how tedious the art is. What a cool book and that Marie is so good to you.

brokenteepee said...

My degree is in Art History. While I was a big fan of the Renaissance, Michelangelo in particular I don't see how anyone could not fail to appreciate the detail in illuminations.
They are stunning.

A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

Very cool. Thanks for sharing all the pictures.

May said...

So beautiful, thank you Lucy!

Passages to the Past said...

What an awesome gift...that Marie sure is SUPER nice! Scan more to show us!!

And I can't wait for your next post - you know I LOVE palaces ;-)