Book of Hours, Paris, 1410
books of hours were devotional books of prayer used by individuals at home rather than in church. the books served as personal religious guides, with calendars of feast days, popular psalms, and, at their heart, a set of daily prayers to the Virgin tied to the hours of the day. the image of the Annunciation accompanies the psalms and prayers for terce, which were said at 9am.
some of these books were carried as such:
they often contained a very large number of illustrations -both because they were pleasing to look at, and also because their messages could be understood by children and those whose ability to read was limited. the images also provided an opportunity for spiritual reflection and prayer for salvation.
above, the 1496 famous illustrations for the Dance of Death, showing that all classes of society were subject to the inevitable command to walk with death. other illustrations concern themselves with secular subjects, representing with realism the occupations and sports of everyday life.