We already know that The Duke of Aumale was a fan and collector of fine art. But I was surprised to learn that he was also an enthusiastic bibliophile. In fact, during his life he collected a staggering 60,000 volumes. Of those, almost 19,000 are on public display.
The Reading Room at Château de Chantilly is everything you’d expect of a fancy rich person. Floor to ceiling shelves, rich wood, moody lighting, display cabinets and a nice place to sit by the fire.
One of the most impressive pieces in The Duke’s collection is The Très Riches Heures of Jean, Duc de Berry. Originally commissioned by John, Duke of Berry and created by the Limbourg Brothers between 1412 and 1416, The Book of Hours eventually made its way into The Duke’s collection at Château de Chantilly in 1856.
If I’m correct in my understanding, the book of hours was popular during Middle Ages and was a collection of Christian prayers to be said at specific times throughout the day (canonical hours).
On display is a replica, as the original is considered too valuable to show. Understandable, given that conserving such an important historical piece is more important than allowing people like me to drool on it.
But even for a replica, I was taken by the intricate details of the miniature paintings and the way the colours jump from the parchment pages.