The Ellesmere Psalter-Hours (EL 9 H17) consists of two distinct but related manuscripts, an earlier Psalter and a later partial Book of Hours written and illuminated in England between about 1310 and 1325. Alexa Sand shows what this unusual book reveals about lay devotion as an expression of class ambition and social networking among the gentry of northwestern England in this period of internecine strife and political turmoil. The manuscript’s material structure and its iconographic, textual, and heraldic contents reflect its emulation not only of similar prayer books created for laywomen belonging to the gentry class but also of specific products of a higher level of patronage extending from the upper aristocracy into the ranks of royalty itself. In particular, the book’s connection to the Nuremberg Hours indicates the degree to which devotional piety was linked to social aspiration.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/alexa-sand/7/