Authored by Cynthia Turner Camp from data compiled by Ty Stewart, David Zeagler, Miranda Clay, and Katie Lech.
The Hargrett Hours is a parchment manuscript of 85 folios of parchment. At approximately 13”x7.5”, the manuscript is roughly the size of a trade paperback and can be held easily in the hand. In its current state, it is missing an unknown number of pages between the calendar and the Long Hours of the Passion (which is acephalous), as well as an unknown number of pages at the end; the second, third, and final quires have also lost individual leaves. Although the manuscript suffered fire damage at one point, its extant leaves are all legible. Its current, nineteenth-century untooled leather cover is its third binding; stab-stitching holes in the manuscript’s gutter indicates that it was temporarily bound in this way at some point between its original medieval binding and its nineteenth-century one.
The text is executed in a tidy lettre batarde hand of the mid fifteenth century; one scribe wrote the calendar, and a second wrote the rest of of the manuscript. The majority of the text is in Latin, with one French prayer and frequent French rubrics. With the exception of the calendar, which is contained entirely within its own quire (as is true of most Books of Hours), all of the major textual divisions extend across quire boundaries. This indicates that the manuscript was produced as a single unit, making the collection of Passion texts (the Long Hours of the Passion, the Passion according to John, and the auxiliary prayers) a deliberately compiled sequence.
The manuscript’s decoration entails rinceaux borders at the beginning of each Hour of the Long Hours of the Passion, champ initials at the beginning of major sections and prayers, and pen-flourished versals. There are no miniatures or figural decoration.
Inside the front cover is a bookplate belonging to William Rae MacDonald (d. 1924) of Edinburgh, Scotland; the manuscript’s path from fifteenth-century France to late nineteenth-century Scotland is unclear, as is its voyage from Scotland to Athens, Georgia.
Future student work will finalize the formal manuscript description, extend research into the manuscript’s provenance, and analyze the chemical makeup of the inks and decoration.