The "Astor-Aubéry de Frawenberg" Hours, a beautiful Book of Hours dating back to the 1500s goes up for auction at the Heritage Rare Books Auction on April 7. A Book of Hours is a medieval devotional book. These illuminated manuscripts are often illustrated and decorated with gold detail and are incredibly ornate and beautiful, many are in museums and libarary collections.
It is believed that this one was made for a nobleman of Toul, in eastern France, circa 1500-1520. It is bound in red velvet and was later encased in seventeenth-century decorated silver gilt covers with royal arms designed for the manuscript, and intricate designs of birds, vases, sphinxes and more. Inside the manuscript contain 19 large miniatures, four full-page miniatures, and 28 small miniatures with pure gold details by by the Parisian workshops of Jean Pichore and Jean Poyet.
The book was possibly crafted for someone in the Aubéry de Frawenberg family and the beautiful binding was added to the manuscript later. Sometime before 1884, American ambassador to Rome and the wealthiest man in America at the time, Viscount William Waldorf Astor bought it for the what was then a huge amount, £420. The manuscript is believed to be connected with Toul, a town in Eastern France because the calendar names of two Toul feasts are featured in gold and the Cathedral of Toul is in the background. of one of the miniatures. It is estimated to sell for at least $325,000.