The Connolly Book of Hours

The Connolly Book of Hours is a masterpiece of medieval manuscript art owned by the John J. Burns Library at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.  Illuminated by hand in France during the fifteenth century, this devotional book marks the flourishing of a late medieval culture with a rising need for prayer in the home and an increasing interest in art.

Books of Hours, made largely for a burgeoning late medieval bourgeois class, were popular prayer books used by the laity for a period of 250 years.  Les Heures, as they came to be known, were spiritual icons as well as status symbols for their original owners and they contain a varied body of prayers, gospel readings, and, of course, the Little Office of Our Lady, known as the Hours of the Virgin.  This varied content afforded the medieval artist a wide range of subjects and abundant possibilities for decoration.  The Connolly Book of Hours, which contains over one-hundred-fifty masterfully rendered leaves, is an excellent example of these devotional books which have often been dubbed “the medieval best seller.”

In the first publication to bring the Connolly Book of Hours to the attention of the public, Timothy M. Sullivan relates the fascinating story of how and in what historical context illuminated manuscripts, like the Connolly Hours, were made and used; Rebecca M. Valette considers several of the lesser known Latin prayers used in the manuscript; Laurie Shepard presents the texts of the French vernacular prayers.  This volume contains thirty-two color plates of the miniatures from this delicately painted medieval prayer book, accompanied by reflections by members of the Boston College community on the personal meaning of these brilliantly rendered illuminations.

For information on purchasing Reflections on the Connolly Book of Hours, please visit the BC Bookstore or contact us at jonesgh@bc.edu