Office of the Dead

(prayers to be recited before a burial or on the anniversary of a loved one’s death)

Forms of Illustration

Whether manuscript or printed, books of hours share many common forms of illustration and decoration, including ornate borders and rubrication (the process of writing or printing titles, headers and key words in red).

Each month of the calendar is typically illustrated by a scene of a labor associated with that season (shearing sheep in June, for example, or harvesting crops in the months of fall). 

Zodiacal signs were sometimes included in the illustrated scene or in the border around it. 

Less commonly, the seasons and months of the year served to represent the ages of man, from youth (spring) to old age (winter).