Simon de Varie, who served in the French royal treasury under Charles VII and whom the king had recently raised to noble rank, commissioned a book of hours, which was completed in 1455. This richly illuminated private prayer book includes a calendar of church holidays and texts for devotional services inspired by the eight daily services of the divine office. The rise in literacy among the merchant and noble classes and their desire to express a newly emotional personal piety, particularly in veneration of the Virgin Mary, spurred the popularity of books of hours in the 1400s. In their desire for tangible luxury products, many wealthy patrons commissioned sumptuously illuminated books of hours.

The complete Varie Hours, of which the Getty Museum's volume is only a part, includes forty-nine large miniatures and several dozen other vignettes and historiated initials by four different artists. While three of these painters are anonymous, Varie commissioned the internationally sought-after painter Jean Fouquet to make six of the manuscript's illuminations; these were appended to the book as an unusual frontispiece. A later owner divided the book into three volumes. The Getty Museum owns one, and the two others belong to the Royal Library in The Hague, The Netherlands.


  • Title: Hours of Simon de Varie
  • Creator: Jean Fouquet, Dunois Master, Master of Jean Rolin II (Hand B)
  • Date Created: 1455
  • Location Created: Paris (perhaps), France; Tours, France
  • Physical Dimensions: Leaf: 11.4 × 8.3 cm (4 1/2 × 3 1/4 in.)
  • Type: Manuscript
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Tempera colors, gold paint, gold leaf, and ink on parchment bound between pasteboard covered with red morocco with olive and citron morocco inlays
  • Terms of Use: Open Content
  • Number: 85.ML.27
  • Culture: French
  • Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Partial gift of Gerald F. Borrmann, Ms. 7
  • Creator Display Name: Jean Fouquet (French, born about 1415 - 1420, died before 1481) and Dunois Master (French, active Paris, France until 1463) and Master of Jean Rolin II (Hand B) (French, active Paris, France last third of 14th century)
  • Classification: Manuscripts (Documents)

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