The Bedford Hours, France, Paris ca 1423

London, The British Library, Additional Ms. 18850, fol. 17b

This carefully designed and finely executed miniature is one of four full-page illustrations to the Old Testament placed at the beginning of the famous illustrated manuscript known as the Bedford Hours. It is a so-called Book of Hours with prayers for certain hours of the day, and it was written and painted in Paris, probably in 1423, for John Lancaster, Duke of Bedford, the younger brother of King Henry V of England. The duke acted as Regent of France while his nephew, Henry VI of England, was too young to rule. John may have ordered the manuscript as a wedding gift on the occasion of his marriage in May 1423 to Anne of Burgundy, sister of Philip the Good. At Christmas in 1430 Anne gave this manuscript, with her husband’s consent, to the young king Henry