Printed Books of Hours from Fifteenth-Century Italy


Published by Leo S. Olschki Editore (Florence)​​​​​​​


A detailed analysis of the production, distribution, and use of the fifteenth-century printed editions of Books of Hours surviving today – in 198 copies preserved in European and North American libraries. Special attention is devoted to the transmission of the texts in print, with a stemma editionum, to their illustrations, and to their relationship both to the manuscript tradition and to the printed production of later centuries. 


The book offers an in-depth examination of the production, distribution, and use, from the late fifteenth century to the present, of the 74 editions of Books of Hours printed in Italy in the fifteenth century, 198 copies of which have survived. They are today in 82 libraries in 16 countries in Europe and North America. Special attention is paid to the transmission of the texts in print, their stemma editionum, the cycle of illustrations, and the identification of buyers and users, including the question of the price of these first printed copies in comparison to that of contemporary manuscript copies. Viewing this genre from the Middle Ages to the nineteenth century, the study contextualizes the success of these editions over the long term and the phenomenon of the rapid replacement of older incunabula by newer editions. It probes the place of Books of Hours within the first printed provision of liturgical books, the circulation of the Roman Use, the dissemination of the Venetian calendar in Italy and beyond, and looks also at the changes inspired by the Council of Trent. The book includes a complete transcription of all the calendars and 88 plates in colour.


  • Cristina Dondi

    Printed Books of Hours from Fifteenth-Century Italy The Texts, the Books, and the Survival of a Long-Lasting Genre 

    March 2018 (first published 2016, Italy)
    Published by Leo S. Olschki
    Distributed by Ad Ilissum

    ISBN: 978 88 222 6468 8

    Hardback, 170 x 240 mm

    754 pages, 88 illustrations

  • About the author

    Cristina Dondi is Oakeshott Senior Research Fellow in the Humanities, Lincoln College, Oxford, and Secretary of the Consortium of European Research Libraries (CERL).

  • About Leo S. Olschki Editore

    Leo S. Olschki Editore (Florence) is one of Italy's oldest and most respected publishers of critical works in the humanities.

© 2017 by Paul Holberton publishing