October 23, 2012
The Taymouth Hours (the British Library/University of Toronto Press) by Kathryn Smith, chair of NYU’s Department of Art History, explores the origins and significance of a manuscript of the same name that was written and illustrated in late medieval England.
While the work is well-known to medievalists and art historians, the circumstances of its genesis have been a mystery. Smith’s work, the first comprehensive study of the Taymouth Hours, traces the manuscript back to Philippa of Hainault, queen of Edward III, and Edward’s sister, the 13-year-old Eleanor of Woodstock.
In her volume, Smith focuses on the relationships between the manuscript’s copious marginal imagery, which includes a wealth of religious and secular stories, and the devotional texts these images border while placing the work within the historical, political, religious, and artistic contexts of early 14th-century England and northern Europe.
Smith’s other works include Art, Identity, and Devotion in Fourteenth-Century England: Three Women and Their Books of Hours (2003), Tributes to Lucy Freeman Sandler: Studies in Illuminated Manuscripts (2007), co-edited with Carol Krinsky, a professor in NYU’s Department of Art History, and numerous articles, essays, and reviews on medieval illuminated manuscripts and early Christian and medieval art.