Book of Hours
There was a tv series several years ago called Millennium that I followed. It was an offshoot from the X-Files….sort of. Sadly it only ran three seasons and then ended. It was in an episode from this series that I first heard about a Book of Hours.
Book of Hours is a book of devotions from the middle ages. In those times books were hard to come by. Materials for writing and producing, along with the skills needed to create a book, were very selective. Until the invention of the printing press, all books, manuscripts, scrolls and text messages were written by hand and ink and was nothing short of art; a blending of calligraphy and iconography. Many of these books use illumination and some examples are brilliantly decorated and gilded, however the majority limited their decoration to capital letters at the beginning of psalms or prayers.
The Book of Hours developed as a devotional for the layperson, but followed in the footsteps of a few other books used by the religious in the church. The Psalter, which contained the psalms, and the Breviary, which contained the Divine Office read in monasteries. Basically this is a collection of psalms and prayers. The Book of Hours was a way for many to experience the contemplative life without the monastery.