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The Bolton/Blackburn Hours (York Minster Add. Ms. 2): A New Solution to its Text-Image Disjunctions using a Structural Model

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The Bolton/Blackburn Hours, an English book of hours made for a denizen of York around 1415 (York Minster Library Add. Ms. 2), contains an unusual cycle of images that have received considerable scholarly attention. The images include 47 full-page images depicting standing saints with their attributes, which, as Kathleen Scott points out, is the greatest number of miniatures in any surviving English book of hours. These are distributed sporadically throughout the manuscript, with little obvious relationship to the texts they face. The manuscript also contains 5 smaller miniatures, 16 historiated initials, and 11 full borders. Recent studies have productively contextualized its patronage, its didactic function, its ‘hypertext’, its relationship with local politics in York, with pilgrimage, and the meaning of a confessional prayer inscribed on its beginning and end leaves. In this essay, I take a structural approach in order to consider the books components and their internal relationships. To concretize this, I made a physical structural model. Doing so forced a reconsideration of the book’s function and yielded different interpretations from those proposed by other commentators.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTributes to Paul Binski
Subtitle of host publicationStudies in Gothic Art, Architecture and Ideas
EditorsJulian Luxford
Place of PublicationTurnhout
PublisherBrepols, Harvey Miller
Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Research areas

  • medeival manuscripts

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