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Virgin and Child

Virgin and Child - W 82, f. 209r Zoom

Virgin and Child

The Coëtivy Book of Hours
Bedford Master and Coëtivy Master
c. 1443, Paris, France
W 82, f. 209r


This magnificent Book of Hours (Use of Paris) was executed for Prigent de Coëtivy (1400-50), who was Admiral of France and, next to the Duc de Berry, one of the greatest book-collectors of the period. The 148 miniatures are mainly attributed to the 'Master of the Duke of Bedford' or 'Bedford Master', the chief illuminator of the time, whose Paris workshop produced masterpieces for wealthy patrons. His name is derived form a breviary made by him for John, Duke of Bedford, brother of King Henry V of England, now in the British Library. Each page is surrounded by an elaborate border, in which all kinds of activity take place, including infants chasing each other in mobile play-pens while monkeys ride on the backs of dogs. These drolleries are not static scenes limited to one page but continue over several pages, as one chase is replaced by another. The borders, executed by at least two assistants, one now known as the Coëtivy Master, combine with the miniatures to form one of the greatest works of art in the Chester Beatty Library.


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