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Juana of Castile’s Book of Hours: An Archduchess at Prayer

Department of Arts, Faculty of Arts, Design, and Social Sciences, University of Northumbria, Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE1 8ST, UK
Religions 2020, 11(4), 201;
Submission received: 16 January 2020 / Revised: 30 March 2020 / Accepted: 7 April 2020 / Published: 17 April 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mysticism and Spirituality in Medieval Spain)


This article examines one of Juana of Castile’s books of hours (London, BL Add. MS 18852) comparing it with those written for members of Juana’s family and seeking to discern how it was used, in order to reassess her peers’ evaluation of her spiritual affinities. It considers how Juana customized her book of hours with a miniature of the Virgin and Child, comparing it with a gifted panel painted by Rogier van der Weyden that Juana treasured to show how she placed herself under the protection of the Virgin. Numbered precepts would be intended for her to instruct any future children and are replicated in Isabel, her daughter’s, book. The office of the Guardian Angel is compared with similar ones in Spain and Burgundy and, like devotion to St Veronica, such prayer is another means of protection. The striking mirror of conscience with its reflected skull, like other similar objects decorated with a skull that Juana possessed, sought to lift her from the decay and sinfulness of the world to the spiritual realm.

1. Juana of Castile, a Mad Queen?

Juana of Castile, third child of Isabel (1451–1504) and Ferdinand (1452–1516), the Catholic Monarchs, was born in 1479.1 In 1496, she made a triumphal entry into Brussels to marry Philip the Handsome, Duke of Burgundy (Legaré 2011). Insights into her life in Castile can be discerned in the poetic games, which marked her send-off from Laredo (Boase 2017, vol. I). In 1500, Juana became heiress of the Kingdom of Castile on the untimely death of her older brother, Juan, and the death in childbirth of her older sister, Isabel (†1500) (Graíño 2005, pp. 1111–14). Juana and Philip left for Castile to be sworn in as legitimate heirs to the throne and for Juana to be invested as Princess of Asturias (Zalama 2010, pp. 130–60; Porras Gil 2016, p. 25). Back in the duchy, Juana was held by her husband in an unenviable state between seclusion and captivity, as Philip sought to position himself as King of Castile (Zalama 2010, pp. 170–78; Fleming 2018, pp. 86–87). Juana and Philip returned to Castile when Juana inherited the throne of Castile on the death of her mother in 1504.
History and myth have not treated Juana well, and despite becoming queen, her name has been strongly associated with her characterization as Juana the Mad (Aram 2005; Fleming 2018, p. 91).2 A re-evaluation of Juana’s history has been recently undertaken by Bethany Aram (2005), Cristina Segura Graíño (2005), and Gillian Fleming, while María A. Gómez, Santiago Juan-Navarro, and Phyllis Zatlin’s edited collection (Gómez et al. 2008) demonstrates the way various myths about her mental instability were constructed about her for political ends. Shortly after their arrival in Castile, Philip died and Juana, pregnant with her youngest child, accompanied his coffin across Castile, contributing to the construction of the legend about her as a madwoman (Zalama 2010, pp. 217–32). Juana I, Queen of Castile in name only, was confined to a palace-convent in Tordesillas. First her father, Ferdinand, King of Aragon, ruled Castile on her behalf, and when he died, her son, Charles V, continued to do so.3 Ferdinand required Juana to submit to his paternal authority, whilst taking responsibility for governing her household and her realms for her (Aram 2005, p. 91). Juana’s final years were marred by conflicting accusations of possession by the devil and witchcraft, whilst her incarceration at Tordesillas became stricter with violent constraints allegedly used (Aram 2005, pp. 152–55).4 Questions over Juana’s spirituality had surfaced during the early years of her marriage. It has been alleged that her parents were concerned enough about Juana’s spirituality to dispatch a Dominican prior, Tomás de Matienzo, to visit Brussels in 1499 and report back, although Zalama (2010, p. 115) disputes this paternal concern, considering instead that the Catholic Monarchs were more concerned about the behavior of Philip on political grounds. Her mother, Queen Isabel, cultivated herself as God’s appointed monarch, no doubt wishing Juana to do the same. Juana’s early disinclination to confess turned into downright refusal unless her servants were removed, revealing her troubled relationship with those she considered her jailers and feeding family concern about her spiritual wellbeing (Aram 2005, p. 155).5
This article examines one of Juana’s books of hours (London, BL Add. MS 18852), seeking to discern how it was used, in order to reassess her peers’ evaluation of her spiritual affinities. In order to address how Juana’s spirituality might be perceived in her book of hours, I compare it with other devotional books, including those owned by her mother and her son. I also contrast it with devotional objects she owned as, taken together with the book of hours, these point to how her spirituality developed. Numerous studies have been undertaken of BL Add. MS 18852 (Kren and McKendrick 2003, pp. 385–87, cat. no. 114; McKendrick 2003, pp. 197–99; As-Vijvers 2003).6 Too few have analyzed how it exemplifies Juana at prayer nor how she was being directed to pray by her husband and those who advised him at the ducal court.7 Juana’s devotion to the Virgin is indisputable and I discuss it with reference to various aspects of her devotions.
Juana’s book of hours was almost certainly given to her as a wedding gift (Reinburg 2009, p. 236). Hours were valued not only for the painted miniatures within their covers, but as a testimony to events in women’s lives (Reinburg 2009, p. 237). The hours given by Philip might have been important to her, especially after his untimely death in 1506. After all, it commemorates his motto and his coat-of-arms with the border around the first miniature of Juana commemorating her union with Philip (BL Add. MS 18852, fol. 26r, Figure 1). It also recalls a time when she seemed ready to take her throne and rule. Unlike many ordinary owners of a book of hours, Juana is not dependent on the book for her historical presence (Smith 2003, p. 11) for she is depicted in many manuscripts of the time. The shields of Philip and Juana are linked by a love knot, entwined with the letters P and I (Philip and Iohanna). In the same miniature, Juana’s namesake, John the Baptist, holds the lamb, symbol of Christ slain, alongside Juana, and in so doing, promotes her role as a Christian wife. The motto of each partner is depicted in the border, together with their coat-of-arms. Heraldic details have been designated a ‘signature’ (Reinburg 2012, p. 68). The mottos, Philip’s ‘Qui vouldra’ and Juana’s ‘Je le veus’, serve the same purpose. Philip’s motto means either ‘he who will desire’ or ‘who desires it’ (Fleming 2018, p. 26). Juana’s motto means ‘I want [or desire] it [or him]’ or, in response to Philip’s motto ‘I do’ (Fleming 2018, p. 26). The futuristic element of Philip’s motto separates him and his desires from Juana’s. The joint mottos establish Philip in command of affairs, for he is the questioner. Juana’s is in second place, as she responds. Her motto ‘I want it’ began to ring with obstinacy as her life unfolded (Fleming 2018, p. 26).
Tracing Juana’s prayer in this book, more than any other, gives an insight into her life as a young wife, rather than the disastrous later years of her semi-incarceration in Castile. The gifted hours were an important record of how Philip thought his wife should conduct herself. This article evaluates the additions Juana made to her hours, using these to exemplify the nature of her piety in her young married life, before any hint of madness overshadowed her. It focuses attention on her devotion to the Virgin, expressed through the prayers and miniatures in her hours. It studies the didactic section of the hours with its emphasis on obedience and the impact that was to have on Juana’s subsequent ability to counter her father’s demands.8 It evaluates the fascinating insight into confronting her own mortality through contemplating death mirrored before her. Her devotion to the Passion, exemplified in St Veronica and the vernicle, also emerges from the pages of the book of hours. Finally, it assesses the saints favored by Juana in her prayers.
Juana’s book of hours remained in her possession until her death when it was found in the inventory of her goods: ‘another tiny book in parchment in medium-sized handwriting with many miniatures and illuminations and the first miniature is of Adam and Eve and of how they were thrown out of Paradise. It begins with the mirror of conscience and has covers of crimson velvet.’9 Keeping the book of hours for over 50 years is not an indicator that Juana considered this book important because of its contents, but its presence in the inventory suggests that she valued it as a gift from her husband, as a precious object, as a prayer book, or as a combination of all the above.

2. Reading and Praying

Women’s spiritual activity depended on their literacy, for their prayer was supported by written texts. Their ability to read Latin was an essential factor in determining how they might engage with such written material. The historiography of written prayers, therefore, intersects with the rich vein of scholarship about women’s literacy and reading practice.10 Laywomen began to own books and even commission them in the later Middle Ages, as evidenced by their names inscribed in texts or from wills (Erler 2002, p. 118).11 Devout women expressed their piety precisely through book ownership (Bryan 2008, p. 11). This section examines how Juana may have used her hours from the evidence embedded in them, considering whether she wrote her own prayers and what miniatures she commissioned for her hours tells us of her devotion to the Virgin, whether she used the pictures or prayed from picture and text, and whether she prayed silently alone or aloud with others.
Juana’s hours, including the instructional section, are written entirely in Latin, even though French was the language of the court. Latin was chosen for Margaret of Cleves’s book of hours because Margaret could read Latin well (Hand 2013, pp. 80–81). The same would apply to Juana. Strict religious education, including Latin, is documented for Juana’s brother, Juan (†1497), Prince of Asturias (Alcalá and Sanz Hermida 1998), while Queen Isabel also took close interest in her daughters’ education (Aram 2005, pp. 22–30; Aram 2008; Cruz 2018, pp. 31–32). Juan Luis Vives (1492–1540) wrote in his On the Education of Christian Women (Vives 1996) of his patron, Catherine of Aragon’s (1485–1536) reputation for deeply held religious beliefs and considerable learning (Kolsky 2012, p. 15). Indeed, all Isabel’s daughters were praised for their erudition (Vives 1996, pp. 36–37). Juana was singled out for commendation of her fluency in Latin:
People in various parts of the country tell me in words of praise and admiration that Juana, wife of Philip and mother of our Emperor Charles, answered in Latin to the Latin ex tempore speeches customarily delivered in every town in the presence of new princes.12
It was certainly the case that Latin prayers, even used by those with little knowledge of Latin, were essential in making connection with the sacred performance of the liturgy, but for a woman fluent in the language they would be a means of addressing the divine (Van der Laan 2015, p. 203). The relationship between the nuns of Syon Abbey and their books of hours demonstrates how the readers saw the words on the page as ‘intermediaries between themselves and God’ (Krug 2005, p. 192). Juana, if she were devout, would have understood the book of hours as a way of conversing with God (Reinburg 2012, p. 162).13 Prayer texts were embodied or performed by their readers, for the handwritten text is a scrap of the past, ‘immobilized’, waiting for the reader to read (aloud or silently) and voice it (Zumthor and Engelhardt 1984, p. 71).14 First Juana and then other supplicants after her death embodied the prayers in the book in the quiet space heard by an unseen God.15 Yet, from the prayer books we now have, it is often nearly impossible to determine how its owner prayed (Reinburg 2009, p. 236). Whether the Latin words on the page were read or whether they simply triggered prayer, in Latin or in the vernacular, might vary from user to user.
Monastic readers ruminated on, and then dispensed with, reading the text, turning to picture-based contemplation (Green 2007, p. 75). A laywoman like Juana might employ pictures to develop contemplative prayer in a similar way (Finnegan 2013, p. 285). The visual provided support for those at the bounds of literacy (Camille 1985) but the visual richness was appreciated even by highly literate women like Juana. Devotional reading of a book of hours also beckons to lectio divina, bringing about a ‘meditative and introspective experience’ (Sterponi 2008).
Medievalists have long made the ‘unspoken assumption’ that books of hours were intended for individual use, in other words for ‘private reading and devotion’ (Coleman 2005, p. 222).16 However, care needs to be taken about assuming that they constituted private literacy (Cruse 2013). Written prayers are not just a record of how an individual prayed, for it is likely they were heard or shared by other members of the household. In any case, hours represented the Church at prayer as bells from local convents punctuated the call to pray. Time was communal and universal, sanctified, and audible (Wieck 1988; König 2012, p. 8).17 Rather than exemplifying private devotion, books of hours owned by an archduchess must have been used at court for communal and audible rather than silent prayer.
A very well-established way to determine Juana’s personal relationship with God would be through individual prayers transcribed into her book of hours (Duffy 2006a, pp. 38, 83).18 Yet Juana added none in her own hand. Although it might be assumed that Juana was not devout and, therefore, did not wish to write any prayers, this cannot be substantiated with details of whether or not she copied prayers.19 Given that her mother’s hours are not annotated with additional prayers, it is probable that adding written prayers to royal books of hours was not customary in Castile.20 Not adding prayers in her own hand might mean Juana had no need to add prayers because she was able to turn to different books for different occasions. Between them, the books she owned held all the prayers she needed.21 According to the inventory of her possessions, Juana owned 21 books of hours, each with prayers and hours arranged differently (Ferrandis 1943, pp. 220–30, [fols 64r–82]).22
Juana might not have used the book of hours to guide her prayers, perhaps because its jewel-like quality made it too valuable. It is certainly true that parts of the hours reveal little sign of soiling, indicating that certain prayers were not used often. However, even carrying the book of hours in its rich covering or chemise (Reinburg 2012, p. 78) meant she achieved a display of piety, enhanced whenever she opened the book and revealed the miniatures with their rich colors. The concept of manuscripts as sensorium is particularly applicable for richly illustrated books of hours, as is recognizing that prayer has visual, auditory, tactile, material, and musical resonances of words lifted from page to enunciation (Ong 1967; see also Finnegan 1988). Words were seen, heard, touched, and spoken. Indeed, in the performance of prayer, whether kneeling, sitting, holding the book, opening the book, letting the eye engage with a miniature, private altarpiece, or a set of words, that prayer is seen, known, public, recognized by visitors to the household, such as Prior Tomás. Walking with the book would have indicated the beginning of a prayer activity and acted as a signal of prayerfulness. Walking through the ducal palace holding her book of hours might have been enough for Juana (Walsham 2004, p. 126).23 Once the prayer destination was reached, the chamber, the chapel, the duchess’s chambers, all that remained to begin praying is to open the book. Then its pages were touched, smelt, and absorbed with the eye so that even holding or opening it would act as trigger to prayer. However, the very lavishness of the cloth covering was testimony to the value of the book (Keane 2008) and the piety of its owner (Rudy 2016, p. 333). If creating a book of hours with its treasure binding operated as an act of worship, covering and uncovering it in public also belonged to ritualized practice for sacred objects, such as unveiling a reliquary or the tabernacle, or revealing the Corpus Christi in its monstrance (Walsham 2004, p. 213). Juana’s book of hours was a tactile object and uncovering it was the first move towards prayer. In this, it revealed its contents like other decorative objects (Randolph 2014, p. 135).
Whilst Juana did not write prayers in her hours, there is evidence she commissioned a miniature after a painting by Rogier van der Weyden (1399/1400–1464), added soon after the hours were compiled (Nash 1995, p. 437). The Virgin breastfeeding (Virgo lactans) (BL Add. MS 18852, fol. 287v, Figure 2) faces Juana kneeling at her prie-dieu (BL Add. MS 18852, fol. 288r, Figure 3). Nash considers the fictive frame in the miniature of the Virgin and Child to be a clue that the miniature was copied from a Burgundian altarpiece. Paintings of the Virgin and Child by Van der Weyden and his followers abound across France and Belgium, and the panel of ‘La Vierge à l’enfant’ [Virgin and Child] in the National Gallery of Belgium, although commissioned for other donors (Martin Reynhout and Barbara van Rockaringen) is thought very similar to Juana’s miniature.24 Other panels by Van der Weyden, ‘La Vierge et l’enfant’ [Virgin and Child] also echo it.25 Nash speculates it was copied from a panel owned by Juana comparable to the Reynout one: ‘we may have here another very specific copy in manuscript form of a favourite devotional image, possibly owned by the patron’ (Nash 1995, p. 437). She argues that the panel with the Reynhout coat-of-arms is ‘unlikely to have been owned by Juana’ (Nash 1995, p. 437). Nash’s view is wide of the mark. According to the inventory of Juana’s possessions, she had five altarpieces of the Virgin and Child, including one identified as Greek and another embroidered one. One of the altarpieces specifically mentions the coat-of-arms of a Flemish nobleman on the upper part of the panel:26
a panel in a chest of Our Lady with her child in her arms breastfeeding with one hand on her breast and the other behind the body of the child. And her hair was loose and her eyes on the child. It is painted by brush. She is wearing a white headdress with blue cloak and the dress is ruddy and, in the upper part, there is a coat-of-arms of a Flemish nobleman. The frame is gilded and the panel outside painted in black.
From the description of Juana’s panel, it is almost certain that it was the one currently in the National Gallery in Brussels. Juana kept it safely protected in a chest. This emphasizes its importance to her and why she had it copied into her hours.27
The artist positioned Juana kneeling on the righthand page in the presence of the Virgin Mary (BL Add. MS 18852, fol. 287v–288r, Figure 2 and Figure 3), a frequent response to acquiring a new book (Sponsler 1997, p. 104). The miniature Juana directs her gaze at the Virgin, bride and mother, no doubt signifying that, as a young bride, soon to be mother of the Archduke, she sought to place herself under the Virgin’s aegis as mother of Christ, King of Heaven. This double page is like the diptychs of devotee and saint frequently found in Burgundian altarpieces.28 Such portraits set the owner in a sacred posture surrounded by holy figures and can be read as a commodification of the devotional body (Sponsler 1997, p. 107). While we cannot be sure how Juana viewed herself in her book of hours, there can be no doubt that Juana was especially devoted to the miniature of the Virgin and Child. In Juana’s book, the diptych is well thumbed, as indicated by the dirt (Rudy 2010, n.p.) on the edges, suggesting the book was held open often there.29 Juana dedicated time to contemplating pictures of the Virgin, using her hours but also her altarpieces to inspire her prayer (Reinburg 2012, pp. 109, 112–127).
Juana’s devotion to the Virgin could also have been served by turning to the seven joys of the Virgin in her book of hours (BL Add. MS 18852, fol. 319r).30 The joys are not celebrating the events of the Virgin’s life but belong to a hymn on the Seven Celestial Joys by Thomas of Canterbury: ‘Rejoice, virgin flower’, ‘Rejoice, God’s dear bride’, ‘Rejoice, splendid vase of virtues’.31 A rosary book in the Chester Beattie Library, Dublin, belonged to Juana and her hours contains a rosary devotion on the Virgin’s seven joys (Miralpeix Mestres 2007, p. 370).32 On the opening folio of the joys is another trompe l’oeil depiction of four jeweled rosaries embedded in carved wooden casings (London, British Library, Add. MS 18852, fol. 319r, Figure 4). The rosary miniature is replicated in other Flemish books (As-Vijvers 2007, p. 45, fig. 16b). In fact, Juana possessed numerous rosaries at the time of her death, showing that she not only contemplated the rosary miniature, but also frequently held and prayed the rosary.33 Ten rosaries are recorded in the inventory of her possessions. There are rosaries with reliquaries attached and one rosary with the mysteries of the Passion attached (Ferrandis 1943, pp. 207–20, fols 64r–82). Juana possessed numerous sets of beads, not called rosaries, similar to the beads depicted in her hours (fol. 40r) (Ferrandis 1943, p. 208). The rosaries she possessed are sometimes of 55 beads and sometimes of 52. Some have gold beads. There is one of coral.
Since her book was rebound to include the new miniature, Juana extended her devotion to the Virgin by commissioning prayers. The seven joys are followed by a series of well-known Marian prayers including the ‘Salve regina’ (fol. 321v). The final prayer, ‘Ave sanctissima Maria’ (fol. 322v), ends with the only capitalized ‘Amen’ in the book of hours. In this ‘Amen’, the letter formation is different to the others in the same section of the book of hours, particularly different is the capital A of ‘Amen’. This Ave prayer may have been one of Juana’s favorite prayers added to the book of hours for her. Although the marginalia are constant with the remainder of the book, several decorated folios are otherwise blank (fols 41v, 349v). Prayers could be easily added to these blank folios.34
At the same time, she took the opportunity to have other prayers added for her. Juana had a section of prayers dedicated to the Virgin copied, beginning with the antiphon, ‘Let me praise you, holy Virgin’.35 The first of the prayers was the ‘At the feet of your Holiness, most sweet Virgin Mary’ (BL MS Add. 18852, fol. 288v), a prayer popular from the late fifteenth century onwards. Particularly valued were the words of the ‘Memorare’, ‘Remember, most merciful Virgin Mary, never was it heard that anyone who turned to you was left unaided’.36 It is significant that the prayers and miniature commissioned at Juana’s request all illustrate her devotion to the Virgin and taking the Virgin as Queen as a model, because she was a future ruler.37 She also, no doubt, modelled herself on her mother and her well-known devotion to the Virgin (Graña Cid 2018, pp. 142–43). Yet another important feature of Juana’s prayer book is the way one part of it was transmitted for her daughter through the moral or conduct section of her book I explore next.

3. Juana’s Hours and Its Influence on Behavior

Conduct guides for women abounded in the Middle Ages and were another indicator of how women’s spirituality might be channeled, since such idealized models for behavior could lead medieval women to ‘interior prayer’ (Grisé 2002; Innes-Parker 2016, p. 241). Yet conduct books were also a way of controlling and disciplining women (Sponsler 1997, p. 60). Juana acquired five well-known ones over the course of her life (Ferrandis 1943, pp. 225–33, fol. 64r et seq., 225, 226, 230).38 Using a prayer book was a related way of guiding women’s behavior, as Juana’s hours, with its numerical teachings and moral instructions, shows. Miniatures in the ‘behavioral’ section of Juana’s prayer book are ways of confronting the female user with consciousness of imminent death and decay, both likely to provoke greater attention to the spiritual. Enumeration of sins allowed them to be countered by prayer and prayers with indulgences were another means of reducing time in purgatory, acting as a counterweight to sin.
In Juana’s book, the instructional section opens with a mirror, marked in gold lettering with the words ‘speculum conscientie’, hanging as though in a gallery. As Juana looks into it, her own demise unfolds before her. The mirror of conscience seeks to bring Juana face-to-face with her mortality to enhance her piety (BL Add. MS 18852, fol. 15r, Figure 5).39 Death and examination of conscience are entwined, and death will eventually be a young woman’s lot. The illuminator successfully replicates the realism of the concave curve of the mirror through subtle reflections, highlights, and shading (Marrow 1983, p. 157). Its trompe l’oeil perspective makes the mirror stand out to the reader, yet it alludes subtly to the many medieval compendia of knowledge such as Vincent de Beauvais’s Speculum Maius, a treatise on right conduct, or Guy Marchant’s 1486 Danse macabre (Marchant 1486) with its title Mirror of salvation for all men (Marrow 1983, pp. 157–58). The mirror, reflecting a grinning skull back at those who open this page, faces a full-page miniature of Adam, Eve, and the serpent, set in an architectonic frame, together with, to the left, Adam and Eve expelled from the garden (BL Add. MS 18552, fol. 14v). The overall impact of seeing the mirror facing the Fall reflects at Juana her own mortality, human sin, the passing state of human life, and the path towards death.40 Juana’s awareness of sinfulness, decay of beauty, and death is attested by her ownership of a gold agnus Dei with a cameo of a naked woman holding a mirror on one side and a serpent on the other (Ferrandis 1943, p. 220).41 The pairing of images of sin and death, as in the double spread in Juana’s book or on her agnus Dei, is not uncommon (Smith 2003, p. 152). Just like Juana’s diptych, Margaret Beaufort’s hours offer an experiential double vision of misguided pursuit of sin, typical of late-medieval ingenuity in designing books of hours (Smith 2003, p. 152). The Beaufort hours miniatures of the Three Living and the Three Dead is comparable to the miniature of the skull in Juana’s hours. Both offer a message to keep from pursuit of the world’s vanities (Marrow 1983, p. 159).42 Juana, faced with the skull and mirror, is to contemplate her end but, in its ‘de-anecdotalised’ state, the mirror invites her to contemplate freely (Marrow 1983, p. 161).
Contemplating the mirror and skull may have been how Juana most often used these pages of her book of hours. The speculum conscientie shows a fair amount of wear along the lower sides of the folios, suggesting the book was held open by the middle to lower sections (Rudy 2010, n.p.).43 Heavy soiling on the page suggests that Juana used it regularly, although it is of course impossible, at five centuries remove, to separate Juana’s response to the book from the simple curiosity of later owners.44 If this wear corresponds to Juana’s use of the book, it suggests pictorial representations of mortality and of original sin were more important to her than the teachings that follow. The mirrored skull brings mortality into her presence in a similar manner to the figures and events of the Passion in Duchess Margaret of Cleves’s hours (Marrow 1996, p. 107). Juana’s tendency to meditate on the skull miniature is further borne out by her owning a gold enameled skull, which no doubt served a meditative purpose (Ferrandis 1943, p. 209).45
The behavioral section of Juana’s hours is replicated in a Burgundian Psalterium for personal devotion (GKS MS 1605, fol. 284r).46 The Psalterium, thought to be owned by Juana’s daughter, Isabel (1501–1526), may provide a tantalizing insight into Juana’s prayers. It signals that the precepts were close to Juana’s heart, since they were copied in the same order for her daughter’s Psalter.47 It may even mean that Juana, Isabel, and others at court voiced them together, each using their own copy. Isabel’s Psalterium begins its speculum conscientie with ‘there follows the mirror of conscience’ (CMB MS GKS 1605, fol. 19v).48 There is, however, no mirror depicted, unlike in Juana’s book of hours. Isabel’s Psalterium depicts a skull only on the margins of the Vigil of the Dead (CMB MS GKS 1605, fol. 284r). Although the words are replicated, the reader is less drawn to death’s omnipresence than in Juana’s book without the visuality of the mirror. It should be noted that skulls and bones are also used to decorate the office of the Dead in many books of hours, such as in a Maastricht hours and prayer book (KB MS 74 G 36, fol. 112r), in a Bourges hours (KB MS 74 G38, fol. 106r), or in Juana’s daughter’s psalter (GKS MS 1605, fol. 284r). They offer a less complex view of mortality than the speculum conscientie miniature but also reinforce how death is ever-present for late-medieval readers.49
Juana’s speculum offers a series of instructions about right behavior. Such a ‘catechesis’ has been considered ‘unusual’ in a book of hours, although it may have been ‘judged appropriate for a young wife’ (Kren and McKendrick 2003, p. 385). There are a number of possible models for Christian instruction: Catechesis, or instructions about the faith; doctrine, or instruction about the Church’s teaching; and moral guidance, such as the 10 commandments or the theological or cardinal virtues. Juana’s book contains a combination of these, including the 10 commandments, the seven deadly sins, the theological and cardinal virtues, the five senses, the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the seven sacraments.50 It is certainly the case that this section of Juana’s hours provides guidance to her on aspects of Christian teaching and offers insight into how Philip and his advisers saw her role.51
One reason for this section of the hours was to prepare Juana to teach her children, giving them the spiritual benefits of religious instruction.52 Using words from the Bible or the Church Fathers, they provide Juana with orthodox teachings to impart (Bell 1982, pp. 755–57), particularly to girls. Hours or primers were used by women for teaching their children (Rudy 2006, p. 66). Joni M. Hand (2013, p. 182) believes the script in Juana’s hours was too difficult for a child to read alone but perfect for guided reading. There are many examples of numbered prayers, such as the seven Penitential Psalms or the five senses, being used to teach literacy (Pearson 2005a, pp. 41–42; Hand 2013, pp. 76, 185).53
The teachings in Juana’s hours begin with the 10 commandments: ‘de decem preceptis’ [on the ten precepts], encouraging her to refrain from sinning (BL Add. MS 18552, fol. 15r). After each commandment, the book of hours lists examples of how it might be broken. The first commandment is to love God: ‘unum cole Deum’ (BL Add. MS 18552, fol. 15r). Instruction about not contravening this precept means avoiding bad faith, idolatry, and other practices bordering on necromancy, such as summoning demons or divination: ‘from this precept a person can sin by following the senses in bad faith, committing idolatry, invoking demons, divining, or observing superstitious feasts or celebrations’.54 Following the commandments, the seven deadly sins are listed, beginning with pride (BL Add. MS 18552, fol. 19r).
Each of the sins in Juana’s hours is followed by examples. Under pride, Juana’s book set out what constitutes pride: ‘under this precept can be found anyone who desires dignities, honors, or preferential treatment, sins’ (BL Add. MS 18852, fol. 19r).55 Juana was to note the different constituents of pride in order to avoid them. A Castilian Libro devocionario [book of devotions] (BN MS 6359, fol. 211r) begins prayers against the seven deadly sins with the following rubric: ‘there follow prayers against the seven deadly sin and the first is against pride’ and, although Juana’s book has no rubric about praying against the deadly sins, it may be intended to instigate such prayer.56 Juana is encouraged to know the activities that constitute the seven deadly sins in order to pray against them. The prayers they evoke may be voiced in Latin, in Castilian, or be an interior wordless plea for heavenly aid. What is more, the seven deadly sins could move the prayer to examination of conscience. Enumerating the types and subtypes of sin drew attention to the sins (as the speculum conscientie suggests). The hours then served the purpose of penitent self-examination (Smith 2003, p. 249).
Although most books of hours did not incorporate instructional sections, some include doctrines or Christian requirements, with certain similarities to Juana’s. Some included ways of controlling mind and body (Madrid, BN MS 6539, fol. 5r; Escorial MS a-III-15, fol. 1v).57 One book of hours instructed when fasting is required: ‘on the four times of fasting’ (Madrid BN MS Vitr. 25.4, fol. 13r).58 Another one instructs on making a good confession: ‘condiciones bonae confessiones’, advising on the right mindset: ‘let it be a simple, humble, pure confession’ (Madrid BN MS Res. 187, fol. 16v).59 A third includes a short outline in French of the Catholic faith (Liège Université MS Wittert 26, fols 224–28). Juana’s also emphasizes the salvific effect of the Church’s teaching.
Occasionally, hours provide behavioral instruction in the vernacular. One Spanish devotional book outlines doctrine necessary for salvation: ‘this is the teaching each faithful Christian should know to save his soul’ (Madrid, BN MS 6539, fol. 4r).60 Queen Isabel, Juana’s mother, had a prayer book with a series of instructions in Catalan for prayers to say during the stages of Mass: ‘as you start to enter the church, you will say the following: I will come into your house, I will show adoration to your temple in awe of you’ (Escorial, MS Vitr. 8, fol. 22r).61 There were hours with prayers in French to be said at principal points during the Mass (The Hague, KB MS 76 F 16, fols 129r–136r) (Rudy 2016, pp. 188–98).62 There was a prayer to say when leaving the house, another for entering the Church, one to say in front of the Cross, and two prayers to say after receiving the sacrament. Prayers might accompany activities or points of the day, such as getting up or confession (Liège Université MS Wittert 31, fols 140r–142r). The hours owned by Alphonso of Aragon (1396–1458), Juana’s great-uncle through her father’s line, includes prayers for rising (BL Add. MS 28962, fol. 15r), as well as for battle (fol. 77r), and for a victory (fol. 78v).
Rubrics in many hours involved reciting prayers accorded indulgences: ‘he who says the canticle Magnificat each day will attain thirty days of relief from Purgatory, granted by the blessed Father’ (Madrid BN MS 6539, fol. 9r).63 Such prayers are beneficial, as they hasten access to heaven for devotees, a feature of medieval life well recognized from endowing chantries. Reducing time in Purgatory for oneself and family members was essential. Juana’s book of hours has an unspecified indulgence for repeating a prayer to the Virgin: ‘O intemerata’ (BL MS 18852, fol. 132r), attributed to Edmund of Canterbury (1125?–1240): ‘and all those saying this prayer devoutly are granted great indulgences’.64 Rubrics to some of Juana’s prayers suggest these are ‘very devout’: ‘very devout prayer to the name of Jesus’ (BL Add. MS 18852, fol. 323r).65

4. Juana’s Hours: The Office of the Guardian Angel, Defeat of the Devil, Cleansing from Sin, and Baptismal Promises

Spiritual attack by the devil could be overcome by St Michael and the angels and medieval men and women appreciated angelic intervention at important points in their lives. Combatting the devil was often expressed through invocation of the salvific power of the Guardian Angel, a frequent subject of altarpieces commissioned by the faithful and suffrages pleading for his help. Christ’s Passion was another familiar way for medieval people to recognize the defeat of sin, whilst devotion to the events and images of the Passion reinforced their continuous spiritual battle against their own weakness. In Juana’s prayer book, a combination of prayers to the Guardian Angel, prayers on Christ’s healing ministry, and prayers to the Holy Face of Christ offered spiritual protection to those repeating them.
Juana’s book (BL Add. MS 18852) stands out from many others, because it has an office dedicated to the Guardian Angel. The office of the Guardian Angel was considered unusual for northern Europe, where Juana lived as archduchess and where her book was produced, although Elizabeth Woodville is known to have owned such hours (Sutton and Visser-Fuchs 1996; Hand 2013, p. 76). How owners handled their manuscripts shows some prayed often to the Guardian Angel (The Hague, KB MS. 74 G 35) and the wear on Juana’s manuscript tells the same story. Unlike the speculum teachings discussed earlier, there is heavy usage on the facing folios of St Michael and Juana kneeling at prayer (BL Add. MS 18852, fols 25v, 26r, Figure 1). St Michael is accorded a full-page miniature facing Juana, accompanied in prayer by her namesake, John the Baptist, and her Guardian Angel (BL MS 18552, fol. 25v). In the miniature, Juana’s gaze falls on St Michael defeating the devil. A book of hours is open on her prie-dieu, but her eyes lift away from it into the spiritual realm and towards the patron of her adopted city. Many hours, particularly those produced in the duchy, begin with suffrage to St Michael. She too commits to angelic defeat of the devil, as she is guided to follow the teaching contained in her speculum conscientie.
The cult of the Guardian Angel was popular in Spain, whilst the ‘Good Angel’ was known in both the Low Countries and Spain (Sutton and Visser-Fuchs 1996, p. 232), particularly in Catalonia because of the dissemination of Eiximenis’s Llibre dels àngels (Gascón Uris 1993; Martí 2003). There are some Low Countries hours with well-thumbed suffrages to the Good Angel (Rudy 2010, n.p.):
To the Good Angel
I ask God’s holy angel sent down to me from our Lord Jesus Christ that you take my soul and my body in your hands.
(The Hague, KB MS 133 M 124, fol. 60v).66
This suffrage to the Angel calls for protection at the time of death. In the peninsula, an Aragonese hours, previously owned by the Count of Benahavis, begins with the office of St Michael (Madrid BN MS Res. 197, fol. 1r), representing all other angels. This office includes an antiphon invoking St Michael as ‘angelus custos’ [Guardian Angel] (fol. 20v). Like Juana’s hours, this one was written for female owners, for it belonged to the Bernardine nuns at the Toledo San Clemente convent. The nuns’ office of the Guardian Angel emphasizes protection from evil during earthly life (Madrid BN MS Res. 197, fol. 64v) rather than at the time of death. One prayer asks the Guardian Angel to ensure the nun receives instruction in the faith: ‘the third prayer is that with your presence you might instruct me deeply in the faith’ (fol. 63v).67 The nuns’ book has the office of St Michael, followed by that of the Guardian Angel, meaning it begins with a double invocation of angelic protection (fol. 61v).
The Guardian Angel hours are clearly intended to protect Juana from temptation, sin, and the world. When considering why the office of the Guardian Angel is included in Juana’s hours, it should be remembered protective power was applicable to a young bride about to engage in pregnancies and births, investing the hours with almost magical or talismanic power (Smith 2003, p. 252). Such an act was common, for a Life of St Margaret could be clasped to the belly of a pregnant women (Reinburg 2012, p. 187). Juana’s office includes the prayer:
Glorious Guardian Angel who was sent at my birth from the womb to watch over me from the heavenly realm, I pray you humbly and devoutly that, as I am entrusted to you, enlighten, arm, and defend me.
(BL Add. MS 18852, fol. 27r).68
In the prayer book of Philip the Good of Burgundy (Hague KB 76 F 2) compiled some 40 years earlier, a prayer to St Michael begins in a very similar way to Juana’s: ‘Angel, who are my guardian, as I have been committed to you with your heavenly mercy, serve, defend and rule over me’ (fol. 3r).69 A second prayer to St Michael invokes the tripartite protection he affords:
I pray you Father, Lord, angel spirit, minister of the heavenly realm who Almighty God sent for my custody that you may ever protect, visit, and defend me, waking and sleeping, from any attack or incursion of the devil.
(KB 76 F 2, fol. 2v).70
Like Philip the Good before her, Juana is to place herself under angelic protection, as she begins her reign. The personage of St Michael conquering the devil took part in Juana’s Burgundian pageant in 1496 (Tammen 2011, p. 216) and his presence would serve as a reminder of her arrival there and, thus, reinforce recall of her wedding vows.71 Juana seems to have prayed the morning office most frequently (fols 26v, 27r). Her devotion to the Guardian Angel casts new light on belief in Juana’s demonic possession alleged at the end of her life (Fleming 2018, pp. 305–25). Moreover, Juana’s devotion to the Guardian Angel was passed to her daughter, Catalina de Austria (1507–1578), who lived longest with her in Tordesillas. Catalina, in her will, asks for protection at the hour of her death from the Guardian Angel and all angels, as well as from other saints including John the Baptist, St Anthony, and St Catherine (Simancas, Archivo General, PTR. Leg. 29, Doc. 27, fol. 488v).
Juana’s book celebrates Christ’s life and ministry from his baptism by John the Baptist with an important emphasis on John baptizing Christ, setting one of Juana’s two patrons at the initiation of Christ’s ministry. The miniature also serves as a wordless reminder of Juana’s own baptismal promise and faith. John the Baptist’s feast was a red-letter day across Castile and Aragon, marked by a short commemoration in Queen Isabel’s breviary (Escorial MS Vitr. 8, fols unnumbered).72 John the Baptist, the last of the prophets, marks the transition between the Old Testament and New and, also, symbolizes transition to a new public life in Juana’s own circumstances.
Christ’s ministry in Juana’s hours makes reading Scripture possible for a laywoman. What is interesting about the series of prayers on Christ’s life is how it centers on biblical women. Christ heals numerous masculine figures, although these are listed only in categories: ‘those possessed by the devil you freed, you brought the dead back to life, you healed lepers and cured the lame and dumb’ (BL Add. MS 18852, fol. 37v).73 The ministry prayer in Juana’s hours is explicit in its treatment of the women Christ met and healed:
You freed the woman taken in adultery; you cleansed Mary Magdalene of her sins; you healed the woman with the flow of blood; you made the woman asking for her daughter happy; you raised the woman crippled for eighteen years; weary you sat at the fountain, enabling the women speaking to you to recognize you; you caused the woman’s heart to become inebriated so she exclaimed: ‘Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts which gave you suck’.
(BL Add. MS 18852, fols 37v–38r).74
First, the female figures are differentiated in a way that the male figures are not. For example, the ‘dead raised’ include both Lazarus (John 11.43) and the son of the widow of Nain (Luke 7.11–16). Explicitly identified are the woman healed of a hemorrhage (Matthew 9.20; Luke 8.43), the woman taken in adultery (Luke 7.37–50; John 8.3), Mary Magdalene made clean, the unnamed woman at the house of Simon the Pharisee whose sins were forgiven [Luke 7.36–49]), and the woman crippled for 18 years (Luke 13.11–16). Each of these women in relationship with Christ demonstrates a need for healing or cleansing and symbolize how Juana, like all women, needed cleansing from her sin. The prayers end with words of thanks to Christ: ‘Lord, I thank you for this and other signs’.75
Prayers to St Veronica, found in Juana’s other book of hours (BL Add. MS 35313), have a similar purpose. Handling of a devotional object, such as the vernicle, is part of ‘performing gender’ and the same applies to how it is depicted as an object of devotion (Clark 2007a, p. 166). In BL Add. MS 35313, Veronica holds her veil, the record of an encounter between a woman and Christ (Swan 2002).76 Hans Belting (2006, p. 236) associates the image of Christ’s face on the veil with the Real Presence. A medal icon of Veronica holding the cloth with its imprint accompanies the office of the Passion of Christ at terce in Juana’s book (BL Add. MS 18852, fol. 54v). Reinburg (2012, p. 117) notes that pilgrim badges, engravings, and sculptures often illustrate the Passion. Juana’s hours again memorialize the vernicle in the shape of a medallion (fols 395r–v) on two facing pages. Christ’s face appears on pilgrim badges on the border of St Luke’s Gospel (fol. 184r), with one depicting Christ’s Passion and another Christ’s face superimposed on a cross. Another medal of Christ’s face is on the lower border in the Psalter (fol. 344r). Juana owned a vernicle altarpiece and, several vernicles in silks.77 The vernicle medals commemorate Juana’s devotion, consistent with the many vernicles she owned. Juana’s devotion to the Passion is affirmed in the ‘London Rothschild Hours’ (BL Add. MS 35313), supposedly Juana’s. In the Rothschild Hours, the first office is ‘on the Vernicle or Holy Likeness’, and there is a miniature of Christ’s face imprinted on Veronica’s veil (fols 17v–32v), followed by the hours of the Holy Cross (BL Add. MS 35313, fols 32v–39v).78 The same prayer separates two offices of the Passion in Juana’s hours (BL Add. MS 18852, fol. 66r) under the rubric ‘The Salutation of Blessed Veronica’.79 Veneration of St Veronica was well established at the Burgundian court, stemming from the belief she could ward off unexpected death, preventing access to the sacraments (Hand 2013, p. 125). This belief may also explain why this subject is found in many books of hours, including Juana’s.
Protection against sin, death, and the devil predominates in the office of the Guardian Angel, the prayers on Christ’s ministry, and the miniatures and offices of the Passion. The prayer in Juana’s office of the Guardian Angel requesting his protective power aligns with the Burgundian tradition of devotion to St Veronica, a noted protectress from untimely death. Christ’s relationship with each of the biblical women and his cleansing of each of them was understood as a personal encounter with salvation. This encounter aligned with Veronica’s retention of his physical presence in the form of a cloth that would through the centuries enable other women to meet him and be saved.

5. Selected Saints and Juana’s Prayers

Devotion to particular saints, whether ones of national or family importance, is another way of discerning how men or women might seek to identify with the spiritual realm. The saints privileged in Juana’s book and how they correspond to national patrons, both from her homeland and new land, is a starting point. The relationship of the saints to Juana’s own life seems then to have led her to identify with certain ones. Study of the saints provides another avenue for gaining insight into her spiritual preferences.
The closing section of Juana’s book provides a short sanctoral or offices of selected saints. These were no doubt intended to be of major interest to Juana, both as a matter of taste and national significance. Each of the eight saints chosen is a major saint in Burgundy or Spain: St James, patron of Galicia and Leon; St George, patron of Aragon and Guild patron in Ghent, St Michael for Brussels, and St John the Baptist, Juana’s patron saint (Crombie 2015). Juana’s book has short suffrages for three female saints, listed in the order they appear in the liturgical calendar: St Mary Magdalene (22 July), St Catherine (25 November), and St Barbara (4 December).80 Given that the proportion of women saints included in collections of lives of saints was relatively small, the proportion of female saints in Juana’s book of hours is high (37%),81 which reflects the fact that privileging female saints in hours for women patrons was frequent (Lerer 2012, p. 414).82 For example, the hours of Charles V, Juana’s son, contains prayers for 23 male saints, whilst there are nine female ones (28%). Charles V’s hours have offices for St Mary Magdalene, St Catherine, and St Barbara, along with saints appropriate to Charles’s role as Holy Roman Emperor, including St Susanna, a Roman saint, and St Helena, mother of the Roman Emperor, Constantine (Madrid, BN MS Vitr. 24.3, fols 304r–313r). Charles V’s book places St Helena (fol. 304r) in pride of place, before Mary Magdalene (19 July, fol. 304v).
Juana seems to have favored certain offices and suffrages, given the soiling apparent on certain pages of written prayers. The suffrage texts displaying the most signs of soiling are those of St James and St Barbara. Juana’s devotion to St James is also commemorated by a medal in the margins of her book (BL Add. MS 18852, fol. 50v). St James bearing his pilgrim staff accompanies the morning office of Christ’s Passion. St James’s scallop is represented on the border at prime and sext in the office of the Virgin, serving as a reminder to Juana of her Castilian identity (BL MS Add. 18852, fols 234v, 248v). One of the rosaries in the miniature (BL Add. MS 18852, fol. 319r) has the shell and staff of St James hanging from it. The suffrage to St James is decorated with scallops and crossed pilgrim staffs (fol. 412r). Among her possessions, Juana had a figure of St James in jet.83
As in Juana’s book, John the Baptist was often the first of the suffrages in books of hours.84 In the first miniature in Juana’s book, John the Baptist stands as her patron. However, it is known that Isabel la Católica sought the protection of John the Evangelist, commissioning a treatise on him (Talavera 2014) and adopting John the Evangelist’s eagle wings for her coat-of-arms. In the second self-portrait (fol. 288r), John the Evangelist accompanies her, facing the miniature of the Virgin Mary. Mary facing John the Evangelist would have been familiar based on images of the crucifixion that often represented him at the foot of the cross with Mary (into whose care she was given). When the new miniature was commissioned, Juana ensured her mother’s preferred patron accompanied her in the presence of the Virgin.
The three female saints are all celebrated in both Spain and the Netherlands.85 Mary Magdalene had prime historic importance for the house of Burgundy (Pearson 2005b, p. 58). Her relics had assisted in legitimizing the dynasty. Authenticated by the Pope in the 11th century and held in the abbey church of Vézelay (Franche-Comté), they were venerated in the heartland of the duchy. Identification of the house of Burgundy with Mary Magdalene remained strong in the 15th century (Pearson 2005b, p. 52).86 Devotion to Mary Magdalene was equally strong at the Castilian court. Juan de Flandes (c. 1460–1519) is thought to have taken the Princess Catherine (of Aragon), Juana’s younger sister, as his model for Mary Magdalene, revealing that the saint’s virtues were more important than association with prostitution, making her fitting for a young princess to adopt as a model.87 Other paintings of Catherine dressed as Mary Magdalene include one by Michel Sittow.88 These many paintings of Juana’s younger sister meant Mary Magdalene occupied a place close to Juana’s heart. The suffrage to Mary Magdalene shows some sign of wear, particularly at the full-page miniature, although there is less on the words of the suffrage.
Next among the suffrages, Juana’s hours commemorate St Catherine of Alexandria.89 St Catherine was a favorite saint in the late medieval period,90 patron saint of maidens, and of philosophers, students, and theologians (Germing 1932, p. 56). As noted earlier, suffrage to St Catherine has its place in all but one of the books of hours produced for Spain, revealing her cult was widespread there (González Hernando 2012), whilst more lives of St Catherine have been written than of any other saint. Evidence of Catherine’s cult is also visible in hours commissioned for Spain. One simply written hours, with rubrics and instructions in Castilian, has St Catherine hours, underlining her importance in Castile.91 She is the only saint with a dedicated office in that simple Castilian book, for the other offices are dedicated to the Virgin, the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, and Corpus Christi.
Juana’s devotion to St Catherine is also marked by the medal of St Catherine in the margins of her book (BL Add. MS 18852, fol. 61v) and Juana’s continued devotion is manifest in her possessing an alabaster statue of Catherine (Ferrandis 1943, p. 231).92 The miniature (BL Add. MS 18852, fol. 417v) accompanying the suffrage to Catherine is more heavily soiled than the text of the suffrage (fols 418v–419v), suggesting Juana may have turned more readily to looking at the miniature.
St Barbara is the third of the female saints in Juana’s sanctoral. The cult of St Barbara spread in northern Europe (Lockwood 1948, p. 29; Cassidy-Welch 2009, p. 378). Late-medieval versions of Barbara’s life associate her with devotion to the Eucharist. In Spain, the cult of St Barbara was equally strong with shrines and hermitages dedicated to her across the kingdoms. St Barbara’s presence in Aragonese altarpieces is typified in Luis Borrassà’s predela of saints, featuring panels of John the Baptist and St Barbara (Grace 1934, pp. 11–14).93 In central Castile, St Barbara’s feast day was often a red-letter day (León Archivo de la Catedral, MS 36, fol. 7v). Shrines to St Barbara are frequent in the Kingdom of Valencia and fortified towns like Lliria, Rocafort, and Chulilla take her as patron. Another famous fortified town, Alicante, had its castle dedicated to her in 1248. As noted earlier, Barbara was one of the female saints most often included among suffrages to saints and Juana’s devotion to Barbara is attested by having an alabaster statue of her (Ferrandis 1943, p. 231).
The female saints included in Juana’s hours are ones she was directed towards by her husband but there is also evidence that she responded to some more than others. There is evidence of handling on the middle to lower edges of the book for the full-page miniature of Barbara (BL Add. MS 18852, fols 420v–421r). The text of the suffrage also shows sign of handling in the middle to lower sections of the right-hand margin (fol. 422r), suggesting that Juana (or later users of the book of hours) favored it more than she did other female saints. Given that St Barbara’s story involves her being locked away in a tower by her father, its synergies for a queen locked away and ill-treated by husband, father, and son are striking.
In the Rothschild hours, some of the same female saints are venerated, together with additional ones: St Anne, mother of the Virgin (BL Add. MS 35313, fols 230v–231r), St Margaret of Antioch (fols 234v–45v), and St Elizabeth of Hungary (fols 235v–236r). St Anne was venerated and invoked by childless noblewomen or during pregnancy in the Kingdom of Valencia during the 15th century and prayers to her were added to prayer books during the late 15th and early 16th centuries (Twomey 2017; Rudy 2016, p. 332). St Margaret of Antioch was another saint with powers over pregnancy and patron saint of childbirth, because of her victory over the dragon and how she emerges from its belly (Dresvina 2017, p. 188). Elizabeth of Hungary, namesake of Juana’s mother, was queen and married saint. This trio of saints (BL Add. MS 35313), would have proved fitting for Juana to venerate during her later married life, giving value to the many pregnancies she underwent. While the short suffrages in Juana’s book (BL Add. MS 18852) would have been appropriate for the early stage of Juana’s life as a new bride, the venerated saints in the Rothschild hours would have been appropriate to a young married woman engaged in providing heirs for her husband’s dynasty.

6. Conclusions

The prayers in this book of hours reveal hidden details about Juana’s life and prayer. The book, gifted to mark Juana of Castile’s marriage or shortly after, combines narratives designed to instruct her in correct behavior and in relationship with God with specially chosen precepts, offices, and suffrages.
First, the emphasis of the speculum conscientie on duty, obedience to God, honor of parents, rejection of sin, seeks to situate Juana’s married life in this frame. The purpose of the doctrinal guidance guides her in positioning the words she is to vocalize within a context of remembrance of her own mortality as well as of obedience to God, the Church, her parents, and her husband. The precepts and memento mori focus the bride’s attention from the opening words of her hours on her immortal soul. She witnesses her own mortality, curbs her senses, and is not to resist the will of her parents who arranged the marriage, and of her husband to whom absolute obedience is of paramount concern.
Prayer was public and voiced and the precepts included in the speculum conscientie in Juana’s hours are intended for speaking. Words are seen, heard, touched, and spoken. Indeed, in the performance of prayer, whether kneeling, sitting, holding the book, opening the book, letting the eye engage with self in miniature, private altarpiece, or a set of words, prayer is seen, known, and recognized by visitors to the household, such as Prior Tomás. Walking with the book would signal prayerfulness. Once the duchess’s chamber or chapel was reached, all that remained was to uncover the book with visual and sensual proximity acting as a trigger for prayer. Prayer’s public function, for prayer was a very visible—and audible—act, was capable of positioning a new duchess in her husband’s court. Carrying the hours, unopened in its rich chemise, signaled Juana’s wealth and status but also her spiritual intention.
Even if the instructional section was not spoken publicly for devotion, as teaching material it would be read aloud. The familiar words of the 10 commandments, seven deadly sins, and other number-related precepts are believed appropriate for the young duchess. Two parts of the speculum are included in the Psalterium (CMB MS GKS 1605), indicating she found them sufficiently valuable to replicate for her daughter or that traditionally in Burgundy it was so.
Second, the prominence of biblical women and their relationship with Christ offers a model for Juana’s own relationship with Christ. The prime position of women saints in books of hours has been noted but not the presence of women in Christ’s ministry. Both have a parallel purpose: Enhancing the engagement of women when prayerfully working through the acts of Christ’s ministry. Christ’s relationship with sinful women marks the view of Philip or of his adviser about women’s nature.
This section of the book also emphasizes the initiatory role of St John the Baptist, one of Juana’s patron saints. John the Baptist is a transitional figure, the last of the prophets, and the first to recognize Christ’s ministry. As Juana’s namesake, he marks the start of transition for her to a new life, far from home, as a married woman. His positioning at her side, along with her Guardian Angel, in the miniature accompanying the office places her prayer in the context of new beginning, new ducal ministry, new nuptial promises, but also of sacrifice.
The tiny handheld book of hours with its office of the Guardian Angel might have acted as a talisman to assist in future pregnancy and childbirth. The protective power of the Guardian Angel indicates to a young wife that clasping it would convey support for the dangers of pregnancy and childbirth, the lot of female consorts. Although the book has no specific handwritten prayer about childbirth, a husband gifting it to his wife might believe holding it would protect her. In later life, Juana may have continued using the hours as a talisman to guard against other danger she perceived, much as she used her agnus Dei.
The suffrages enable Juana’s prayer to connect her home country (St James, St George, St John the Evangelist, St Catherine, St Mary Magdalene) and her new one (St Michael, St Mary Magdalene). Prayer to them often had personal associations (Michael with her triumphal entry, John the Evangelist with her mother, Mary Magdalene with Catherine of Aragon), positioning those suffrages within deeply held sentiments.
Although it cannot be said with absolute certainty (because later users of the book of hours will also have contributed to soiling), it seems that Juana used certain miniatures more than the offices that accompany them, allowing visual stimulus to prayer to guide her response to God. She had a Virgin and Child miniature added opposite one of herself at prayer and possessed the Musée des Beaux-Arts altarpiece from which the miniature was copied. Juana placed herself under the protection of John the Evangelist and prayed before the Virgin, a mother with her Child.94 She said the rosary and particularly valued traditional prayers to the Virgin.
Another aspect of hours is the relationship of text and illustrations, a point often made by those commenting on the satisfying synergy between what is heard and what is seen. However, none of this demonstrates how prayer might arise from what the eye sees on the page. It cannot be doubted that this book contains prescribed Latin prayer, determined to control Juana’s words. Yet controlling Juana’s prayer was not easy, for she could converse in Latin.95 Prayer in Latin might lead to a range of prayer responses, vernacular conversation with God, interior contemplation built on picture or soundscape, wordless prayer, or thoughts enunciated in Latin. When prayers are written and transmitted in a manuscript, particularly a beautiful one, they evoke traces of the oral prayer they previously triggered.96 Repeating the words enclosed in her prayer book, whether aloud or whilst silently moving the lips, allowing her soul to be moved to prayer by gazing on the mirror of conscience with its message that earthly beauty can only decay, and re-enacting the soul’s movements, permits uplifting towards the spiritual realm.
Juana’s book of hours allows us to catch sight of its owner, to glimpse how she might have held on to its Guardian Angel office when her world crumbled around her, and to contemplate herself in better times when she found herself incarcerated and publicly humiliated. One of the most striking insights gained from setting the hours alongside her possessions and her life is the way the hours and her possessions coincide: The Virgin and Child altarpiece, the vernicles, and the gold-enameled skull. Finding that Juana had the altarpiece of the Virgin and Child with the Flemish coat-of-arms among her possessions at the end of her life is a testimony to her deep devotion to the Virgin, expressed also in the modifications made to her hours.


This research was funded by Neil Ker Foundation Research grant, administered by the British Academy (2017), grant number NK160003.

Conflicts of Interest

The author declares no conflict of interest.


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Research for this article was supported by a Neil Ker Foundation Research grant, administered by the British Academy (2017). This article contributes to the project ‘La conformación de la autoridad espiritual femenina en Castilla, Research project funded by the Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad de España and by FEDER funding (Ref. FFI2015-63625-C2-2-P).
Not universally so. Burke (1895, vol. II, p. 265) argued that Juana’s husband had attempted to have her declared insane in 1506 so as to take her crown. The Cortes rejected it and allegiance was accorded to her on 12 July 1506 as Queen Proprietress of the Kingdom of Castile. Boase (2017, vol. I, p. 104) argues that Juana showed no signs of insanity prior to 1496.
See Zalama (2010, pp. 337–56), ‘Medio siglo de gobierno ni un día de gobierno’. Juana became Juana I in name only.
Tomás de Matienzo writes of her: ‘There is as much religious activity in her house as if it were a strict convent and, over this, she keeps careful watch and should be praised for it, even though it might seem the opposite. She has much in her of the good Christian woman’ [Hay tanta religion en su casa como en una estrecha observancia y en esto tiene mucha vigilancia, de que debe ser loada, aunque aqua les parece el contrario. Buenas partes tiene de buena cristiana], cited by Perez and Escamilla (2014, n.p.).
Concerns about Juana’s refusal to confess are noted by Tomás de Matienzo: ‘on the feast of the Assumption two confessors came and she did not confess to either’ [el día de la Asunpción aquí acudieron dos confesores suyos y con ninguno se confessó]. (Cited in Zalama 2010, p. 118).
I note the almost universal use of the term Flanders with its political overtone and adopt the term Duchy of Burgundy or Low Countries (Clark 2007b).
Comparison will, inevitably, be made with Reinburg’s studies (Reinburg 1988, 2009, 2012) of French women’s hours and with Smith’s (2003, pp. 249–94) of 14th-century English ones. A recent and important exception that does address Juana at prayer is König’s study (König 2016, pp. 77–82) of books made for women by men.
At least some of Juana’s problems in negotiating queenship stemmed from her desire to maintain filial obedience (Aram 2005, p. 91) to her father, perhaps as instructed in her book of hours.
‘Otro libro chiquito de pargamino de mano mediano de muchas ystorias e iluminaciones la primera ystoria es de como pecaron adan e heba e fueron hechados de parayso comiença speculum consçiencia e tiene las coberturas de terciopelo carmesi’ (Ferrandis 1943, pp. 222–23, [fol. 64r]).
See key studies of women readers: Taylor and Smith (1997); Mulder-Bakker (2004). Bell (1995) studies English medieval convents, cataloguing a preponderance of breviaries and liturgical books among other devotional works and treatises owned by high-ranking religious women at Syon Abbey and elsewhere. On the Syon nuns’ books and library, see also Krug (2005, pp. 154–55).
In England, women owned primers (or books of hours), as well as the Scale of Perfection, Vitae Patrum, and Chastising of God’s Children (Erler 2002, pp. 121–32). In Spain, noblewomen often owned Francesc Eiximenis’s (1340–1409) Libre de les dones [Book of Ladies] (1981) or his Dotzè llibre del crestià [Twelve Volumes on Being a Christian] (1986–87). They may have owned a translation of Ludolph of Saxony’s Vita Christi, such as Joan Roís de Corella’s translation of it, Lo quart (Roís de Corella 1495). Van der Laan (2015, p. 184) gives an example of a book of hours commissioned by another woman ruler, Mary of Guelders.
‘Non sine laudibus et admiratione refertur mihi passim in hac terra Ioannam, Philippi coniugem, Caroli huius matrem, ex tempore Latinis orationibus quae de more apud novos principes oppidatim habentur, Latine respondisse.’ (Vives 1996, p. 37). On Juana’s proficiency, see also Hieronymus Münzer (1924, p. 261).
Castile was in a state of turmoil and this heightened concern for Juana’s immortal soul (Fleming 2018, p. 291).
On prayer as performance, see Reinburg (2012, p. 139). She refers to definitions of prayer as ‘communication, dialogue, monologue, act, performance, experience, and text.’
On the reciprocity of speaking with God, see Cohen and Twomey (2015, p. 10) Whenever readers embody text, they participate in a ‘text-event’ according to Zumthor and Engelhardt (1984, p. 71).
On aurality, see also Coleman’s earlier studies (Coleman 1995, 1996).
König (2012, p. 8) points to how using a book of hours meant lay people could ‘live by a more spiritual tempo’.
In terms of individual handwritten prayers and annotations on the margins of books of hours, Duffy (1992, p. 209) notes that such prayers ‘survive in huge numbers, jotted in the margins or flyleaves of books [...] above all gathered into the primers or Books of Hours’. Discussing the Roberts hours (Cambridge, University Library, MS II.6.2), Duffy (2006a, p. 84) notes that these include a Latin rhyme on the life of the Virgin, a Latin distich on the Passion, a short spell to quench the flames should your house catch fire, a rhyme royal stanza on the merits of the Mass, a Latin rhyme about the Virgin. On women’s prayer, see also Reinburg (2009, p. 236).
As Juana’s later life in captivity progressed, examining her spirituality became the subject of much documentation and critical study. See for example, Aram (2005, pp. 152–56); Fleming (2018, pp. 288–98, 306–14).
Juana’s sister, Catherine of Aragon, did add a request for prayer, written during times of trouble, to a friend’s book of hours: ‘I thinke the prayers of a frend the most acceptable unto God and because I take you for one of myn assured I pray you remember me in yours. Katherine the queen’ (cited in Duffy 2006b, p. 18).
Holladay (2006, p. 85) believes queens like Jeanne d’Evreux may have owned multiple copies because of the ‘internal appearance’ of the contents or for their ‘value as investments’. The first suggests a very superficial view of the queen’s prayer and the other is a purely economic engagement with prayers. On the value attributed by booksellers to books of hours, see Reinburg (2012, pp. 43–49).
Books of hours have typical, though differing, structures. Some begin with the hours of the Virgin, others with the Holy Cross, or the office of the Holy Spirit, although exceptions are many and, of course, books were customized and rebound (Rudy 2016, p. 328). The contents of books of hours often include a calendar, four Gospel lessons, the hours of the Virgin, the hours of the Cross and of the Holy Spirit, two prayers to the Virgin (‘Obsecro te’ and ‘O intemerata’), Penitential Psalms and Litany, the office of the Dead (Wieck 1997, p. 51). All these prayers and offices are included in Juana’s hours. Books of hours, such as the one from the library of the Dukes of Osuna (Madrid BN MS Res. 197), often precede the hours of the Virgin with the ‘oratio Sancte Marie’ [prayer to the Virgin], usually ‘O intemerata’ [O unspotted] or ‘Obsecro te’ [I beseech you]. For example, a book of hours, produced in Ghent (BN MS Res. 161, fols 22r–26r) is compiled with Scripture readings followed by prayers to the Virgin. These two prayers were found in books of hours in all parts of Europe. In Spanish collections, see, for example, Madrid, BN MS 17968, Libro de horas según el uso de Roma (fols 19v, 24v) or Madrid, BN MS Res. 190, Libro de horas (fol. 7r). See a book of hours illuminated in Rouen (Madrid BN MS Res. 194, fol. 14v), a Naples book of hours (Madrid BN MS 23221, fol. 7v), and another illuminated in Florence (Madrid, BN MS Vitr. 22.2, fol. 13r). They are also found in Flemish books of hours, such as a Ghent-illustrated one (Madrid, BN MS Res. 161) or another illuminated in the Low Countries (Madrid, BN MS Vitr. 24.7). Juana’s book of hours contains a second office of the Passion, seven joys of the Virgin and other prayers to her, such as the Stabat Mater. Variation in contents, indicating that books were used at different points in the liturgical year, is not mentioned by Holladay (2006, p. 84) when she considers Jeanne d’Evreux’s many books of hours, although it is self-evident.
Walsham also makes the point that carrying a book of hours could signal other things. She adds such a book might be more than a signal of prayerfulness because it functioned as a fashion accessory or insignia of social status and this might be part of the attraction of the many books of hours owned by Juana.
Brussels, Musée Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Rogier van der Weyden (follower), ‘La Vierge à l’enfant’, inv. 330, [consulted 25.11.19]. Both the miniature from BL Add. MS 18852 and the panel are reproduced by De Winter (1981, p. 345, figs. 5 and 6).
Caen, Musée des Beaux Arts, Rogier van der Weyden, ‘La Vierge et l’enfant’, [consulted 25.121.19]. On Van der Weyden, see Pächt (2011).
Belting (2016, p. 64) considers the shield is a ‘place holder’ for the absent person, in this case the donor of the portrait of the Virgin to Juana.
Salomon (1983, p. 221) examines the Dutch practice of storing valuable artworks in a box, which Juana no doubt brought back to Castile. Fleming (2018, p. 138) remarks on Juana’s fears that her jewels and other valuable possessions were being stolen by her servants during her incarceration in Tordesillas.
For example, the Virgin and Child in the Caen Art Gallery mentioned earlier is one half of a diptych portraying the donor Laurent Froimont on the righthand panel, facing the Virgin (Pearson 2005a, p. 3). Caen MBA, ‘La Vierge et l’enfant’, [consulted 25.11.19]. Miniatures of the Virgin and Child, replicating panel paintings, were also frequently commissioned by female patrons, like Margaret of Cleves, Anne of France, and Mary of Burgundy. For examples of this devotional positioning, see Hand (2013, pp. 112–35); König (2015, fol. 16v). On the portraits of female devotees before the Virgin, see Hand (2013, p. 113, fig. 3.4). For the miniature of Anne of France, see Reinburg (2012, pp. 68–69, fig. 10; pp. 72–73). For the miniature of Mary of Burgundy, c. 1480, see Smeyers and Van der Stock (1996, fig. 18), reproducing Vienna Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Cod. 1857, fol. 14v. There are also individual studies of queens and duchesses commissioning books of hours and adding self-portraits, for example Marrow (1995, facing xii [fig. 1], p. 27).
This approach to Juana’s book of hours follows the methodology established by Rudy (2010), although it proceeds through observation rather than use of a densitometer.
On joys of the Virgin in English books of hours, see Morgan (2013, pp. 85–86). Winston-Allen (2005, pp. 34–43) links the joys (5, 7, 12, 15, or more) to books of hours with their depiction of events in the Virgin’s life and to the rosary, a relatively new devotion in the late fifteenth century when Juana’s hours were compiled.
‘Gaude, flore virginali’ […] Gaude sponsa cara Dei’ […] ‘Gaude splendens vas virtutum’ (Dreves and Blume 1888, vol. XXXI, pp. 198–99). This hymn is also found in Italian books of hours, according to Stocks (2013, p. 375).
Hispanic examples of joys of the Virgin include Llull’s Doctrina pueril (Llull 2019, pp. 127–36).
Winston-Allen (2005, pp. 129–30) discusses the evidence for stockpiling rosary devotions with its repetition approximating to a charm.
The presence of decorated but blank folios reveals that, at production, the upper lower, and side margins were pre-decorated and then the prayers were added by the scribe.
‘Dignare me laudare te, Virgo, sacrata.’ Juana is thought to have specially requested this prayer. See Fleming (2018, p. 296).
‘Memorare piissima non esse auditum a saeculo quemque ad te currentem presidia aut tua petentem suffragia a te derelictum.’
On queenship as modelled by the Virgin Mary in theology developed by Clarian writers, see Graña Cid (2016). Graña Cid discusses its presence in the writing of a female relative of Isabel la Católica, Isabel de Villena (1430–1490). Graña Cid (2018, pp. 141–42) discusses Isabel la Católica’s court and how the queen and high-ranking courtiers took the Virgin as a model.
Well-known ones she owned were the Regimiento de príncipes [Regiment of Princes], Luzero de la vida cristiana [Guiding Light of Christian Virtue], and Flor de virtudes [Flower of Virtues]. She owned a Libro de las donas [Book of Ladies], by Eiximenis, a book about education and upbringing for women, perhaps in Castilian translation. For a modern edition, see Eiximenis (2007). On the impact of Eiximenis’s book on women rulers in different periods, see Silleras Fernández (2015). Juana possessed Contentus mundi [on the contempt for the world], likely to be Thomas à Kempis’s work translated by Fray Luis de Granada (1504–1588), printed in 1536 at Cromberger’s press.
Books of hours were often re-ordered (Rudy 2016). In each case discussed, it is recognized that books of hours could be customized and their order changed.
The effect is much the same as in the dance of death and its extensive representation in northern and southern Europe (González Zymla 2014). Oosterwijk (2013, p. 67) notes that the iconography of the rich and powerful face-to-face with a grinning skeleton spread rapidly after its first appearance in 1485.
‘Vna pieça de oro ques como anus dey de la una parte tiene a nuestra señora esmaltada de trasflor y azul y en otras partes de rosicler y verde y de la otra parte tiene vn camafeo de vna mujer desnuda que tiene vn espejo en la mano y en la otra vn sierpe que peso siete ochavas y quatro tomines y seis granos el qual por la data desta quenta paresçe que se entrego a Juan de val de perre, platero por mandato del enperador nuestro señor’ [a piece made in gold that is like an agnus Dei with Our Lady in gold work and blue on enamel and in other parts of rose-coloured silver and green and on the other side it has a cameo of a naked lady holding a mirror and on the other side a serpent. It weighs just over an ounce. By the date on it, it was taken to Juan de Val de Perre at the command of the Emperor, our master]. Juana considered her agnus Dei was proof against storms, plague, and demonic forces, as the marquis of Denia, her jailor in Tordesillas, reported (Fleming 2018, p. 311).
The Three Living and the Three Dead has an important place in Spanish iconography, see González Zymla (2011) who traces the theme back to Buddhist wisdom literature.
Rudy (2010, n.p.) acknowledges she cannot be certain that the high traffic on the pages represents the patron’s interests, but she surmises it does.
Sponsler (1997 p. 107) discusses two miniatures of the Tourette family at prayer in their book of hours. Sponsler considers the second miniature with the skull before the family at prayer reminds them of the danger, decay, rupture as opposed to enclosure, and change in everything around them.
‘Una cabeça de muerte de oro esmaltada de blanco’ [a gold skull enamelled in white].
See, for example, the Psalterium, Bruges and Ghent, c. 1520–1525. The book probably belonged to Isabel, queen consort of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. Copenhagen, Kongelige Bibliotek, CMB MS GKS 1605, [consulted 18.3.18]. There is a brief study of the manuscript by Kren and McKendrick (2003, p. 439, no. 136).
Hand (2013, p. 181) discusses the example of the Credo copied for each of Anne of Brittany’s children which she sees as evidence of Anne passing her teaching on the Christian faith to each of her children.
‘Sequitur speculum conscientie.’
Marrow (1983, p. 154, n. 1) offers some of the bibliography on death. Not included but valuable is Binski (1996). Marrow does not include some of the earliest evidence of death as a subject for scholarly interest including the work of Ariès (1975, 1982, 1983).
The 10 commandments are given by Moses in the Old Testament (Exodus 34:28). The seven gifts of the spirit are listed (I Corinthians 12). The seven deadly sin were first set down by Pope Gregory in the sixth century. The theological virtues, Faith, Hope and Charity are listed in I Corinthians 13, combined with the four cardinal virtues, listed in Wisdom 8:7.
Anne de Bretagne’s book of hours begins with extracts from the Gospels (Delaunay 1841, p. 34).
Smith mentions profitable religious instruction (Smith 2003, p. 257); Reinburg (2012, p. 100) discusses the teaching of reading at home. See also Sponsler (1997, p. 111).
Llull’s primer (2019) includes the 10 commandments, seven sacraments of the Church, eight beatitudes, seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the three laws, the seven arts, and also the seven virtues, which are the path to salvation.
‘A hoc precepto potest quis peccare de fide malo sentiendo, ydolatrando, demones ynvocando, divinando, dies vel ceremonias supersticiosas obseruando.’ The way this precept is framed is particularly interesting given the concerns around Juana’s supposed dealings with the devil at the end of her life.
‘In hoc precepto potest quis peccare dignitates, honores vel prelationes appetendo.’
‘Sequuntur orationes contra septem peccata mortalia et primo contra superbia.’
‘Deuotissima oratio ad gubernationem anime et corporis.’
‘Quattuor tempora ieuniorum.’
‘Sit simplex, humilis, confessio pura.’
‘Ésta es la doctrina que todo fiel cristiano deue saber para salud de su ánima’.
‘Com començaras a entrar per la esglesia diras axi com se segueix: Introibo in domum tuam adorabo ad templum tuum in timore tuo’. The use of Catalan can perhaps be explained for a number of reasons. One possibility is that Isabel prayed alongside her husband, a Catalan speaker. Another possibility is that Isabel particularly requested the copy to be made as she prayed alongside Catalan ladies-in-waiting in a bilingual court. It is also possible it is as a result of the prayer book being copied and illustrated in the Low Countries where copyists may not have distinguished Catalan from Castilian. Prayers to say during Mass are found in some Northern European books of hours (see, for example, Liège Université, Bibliothèques et Archives, MS Wittert 13, fol. 101r, prayer at Communion). Among Castilian examples, there is a book of devotions, a very ordinary text aimed at a very different owner to Juana’s luxury book of hours. Illustrations, where they exist, are drawn in red ink and are merely squiggles or foliate extensions of opening letters. It contains series of prayers to say before Mass, at the elevation, after communion, and after Mass (BN MS 6539, fols 41v, 51r, 59r). The prayers before Mass in this book of prayers are for before celebrating [‘incipiunt orationes valde devote dicende a presbyteris celebraturis ante missam’, fol. 41v]. This book of hours also has a short section explaining the meaning of the priest’s vestments (fol. 44v).
Reinburg (2012) discusses French Mass prayers in a book of hours produced and illustrated in Mons by the Master of Antoine de Bourgogne.
‘El que dixiere cada dia el psalmo de Magnificat gana treynta dias de perdón otorgado por el beato padre.’
‘Et concessit omnibus eam devote dicentibus magnae indulgentiae’ (BL Add. Ms 18852, fol. 132r). The ‘O intemerata’ is probably Cistercian in origin (Wilmart 1932, pp. 474–504; cited in Reinburg 2012, p. 221). Reinburg (2012, p. 223) identifies several French books of hours whose rubrics include indulgences for ‘Obsecro te’.
‘Oratio devotissima de nomine Jesu.’
‘Tot dinen goeden engel. Ic bidde di heilich enghel gods die mi bevolen biste van onsen here Ihesu Xps dattu nemes mijn siel ende mijn lichamen sonderlinghe in dijnre hoende.’
‘Tertia petitio quam tibi presento ut in fide instruas me profunda mento.’
‘Custos mi[hi] angele gloriose qui ex celesti herarchia fuisti diuinitus ab ortu natiuitatis mee ex vtero ad me custodiam te deprecor humiliter et deuote ut me tibi commissum sic illumines muneras et defendas.’
‘Angele qui meus est custos pietate superna me tibi commissum serua deffende guberna’.
‘Obsecro te domine pater spiritus angelice minister celestis imperii cui deus omnipotens mei custodiam deputauit indefiniter protegas uisites et defendas ab omni incursu et impugnatione dyaboli uigilantem et dormientem stantem.’
According to Tammen (2011), the sketches showing the tableaux vivants for the entry are in the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett, inv. 79D5, fol. 1v. The presence of St Michael linked the two lands in another way, as Nelson (2000, p. 107, n.6) argues in her study of the court music of Charles V and Philip II. From its foundation in the 1460s, the Order of St Michael was closely allied to the Order of the Golden Fleece.
See also, Madrid, Palacio Real, MS II 2100, fol. 6v, with ‘Natiuitas Iohannis Baptiste’ [birth of John the Baptist] marked in gold.
‘Possessos a demone liberasti, mortuos resuscitasti, leprosos sanasti, paraliticos et mudos curasti.’
‘Mulierem in adulterio deprehensam a dampnatione mortis liberasti, Mariam Magdalenam a peccatis suis mundasti, mulierem a fluxii sanguinis sanasti, mulierem pro filia [sic] rogantem letificasti, mulierem decem et octo annis incuruatam erexisti, lassus super fontem sedisti mulierem tibi colloquentem cognitionem tui et sui ipsius dedisti, cor mulieris in predicatione tua gratia in tantum inebriasti ut in medio populi clamaret et diceret ‘beatus venter.’
‘Gratias tibi ago, Domine, propter hec et alia signa.’
Swan (2002, p. 20) traces the Veronica legend in Anglo-Saxon England, but also makes the point that women believers had the opportunity through the Veronica legend to ‘create […] Christ in their own image, as someone bleeding, powerless, and subject to others’.
‘Otra tabla mas pequeña […] tenia la veronica sobre campo verde’; ‘vna beronica que estaua en seda rrasa’; ‘tres beronicas que estauan en seda rrasa’; ‘vnas beronicas que estauan en seda rrasa’ (Ferrandis 1943, p. 230) [a panel with the vernicle on a green background; a vernicle in smooth silk, three vernicles in smooth silk].
‘De sancta facie.’
‘Salutatio Beate Veronice.’ The first office of the Passion, ‘ad matutinas de passione Xpi’ [At the morning office of the Passion of Christ] begins at fol. 50r. The second, ‘Officium de passione domini nostri Ihu Christi’ [the office of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ] begins at fol. 73r.
In England, suffrages for certain female saints were regularly grouped (Lerer 2012, p. 414): Mary Magdalene, St Catherine, St Margaret, and St Bridget. For the history of women’s engagement with saints’ lives in England, see Wogan-Browne (2001, pp. 9–12). She focuses on virgin martyrs’ lives (Wogan-Browne 2001, pp. 91–122). Particularly important for women readers (p. 91) is their relationship with Christ.
For example, one book includes only 20% female saints (KB MS 128 G 34).
In the case of Juana’s book, female saints have been selected on her behalf. Study of the occurrence of female saints in manuscripts produced in the workshop of the Master of the Dark Eyes reveals that St Catherine (24 manuscripts) and St Barbara (25 manuscripts) are most often included in suffrages, with St Anne (18 manuscripts) close behind. St Apollonia (9 manuscripts) is next. Suffrage to Mary Magdalene is less frequent (7 manuscripts) (Broekhuijsen 2009, pp. 83–193).
‘[…] un santiago de azabache.’
There are few prayer books produced in Spain extant. Many Low Countries prayer books in use in Spain open the suffrages with John the Baptist: Madrid, BN MS Res. 178, fol. 9r; Madrid, BN MS Res. 189, fol. 77r; Madrid, BN MS Res. 281, fol. 182r. Many Flemish-produced books of hours begin with John the Baptist, including The Hague, KB MS 134 C 47, fol. 78r; Hague, KB 76 F 20, fol. 168r; Hague, KB 76 F 30, fol. 15r; Hague, KB MS 76 G 22, fol. 24r; Madrid, Palacio, II 2098, fol. 82r, as well as French-produced ones (BN MS Res. 54, fol. 9v).
One manuscript produced in the Duchy of Burgundy, Madrid, BN MS Res. 178 includes suffrages to John the Baptist (fol. 9r), Peter and Paul (fol. 9v), Nicholas (fol. 10r), Anthony (10v), Adrian (fol. 11r), Sebastian (fol. 11v), Catherine (fol. 12r), Barbara (fol. 12v), Mary Magdalene (fol. 13r), Margaret (fol. 13v), Anne (fol. 14r), and Agatha (fol. 14v). Among the six women saints, Catherine, Barbara, and Mary Magdalene take pride of place. The chorus of Virgins had a long history in England, being found in the Benedictional of Aethelwold (963–994) (BL Add. MS 49598, fol. 1v).
Because of the devotion to the Magdalene in the duchy, Margaret of York, Duchess of Burgundy, visualizes herself as Mary Magdalene in the frontispiece of a manuscript she had copied, Le Dialogue. There, Margaret refashions herself, embodying the Magdalene’s seven acts of mercy and her ascetic life.
Juan de Flandes, ‘Retrato de una infanta, posiblemente Catalina de Aragon’ (Madrid Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza), [Consulted 13.6.18].
Michel Sittow (1468?–1525), ‘Catherine of Aragon as the Magdalen’, Detroit Institute of Arts, 40.50; Unknown artist, c. 1520. Catherine of Aragon, London, National Portrait Gallery, NPG L246. [consulted 20.4.2107]. [consulted 20.4.17].
The popularity of St Catherine in England is attested by a lengthy narrative in verse about all aspects of her life from cradle to grave. See Capgrave (2011), an exceptional narrative surviving in four manuscripts. Winstead translates Oxford Bodleian MS Rawlinson 118, which she believes closest to Capgrave’s original. In Spain, Catherine suffrages were popular too. A book of suffrages includes ones to St Catherine (BN MS 236520, fols 46r–47r, fol. 51v–52r).
Catherine of Alexandria’s cult has so far been studied in England, Spain, and Germany (Lewis 2000; Winstead 2000; Capgrave 2011; Parker 2010; Simon 2016). In the Netherlands, lives of saints, including those of Catherine of Alexandria and St Cecilia were produced by the Belgian Peter Dorland (1454–1507) (Van Dijk 2016, pp. 118–21).
See note 61 for a brief description of this Castilian-produced book of devotions. The hours of St Catherine (fol. 29r) follows the hours of the faithful departed (fol. 16r), the hours of the Virgin to say on Saturday (fol. 18r), the hours of the Holy Cross (fol. 19v), the hours of the Holy Spirit (fol. 22r), the hours of the Holy Trinity (fol. 23v), the hours of Corpus Christi (fol. 25v).
‘Seis ymajenes de alabastro, la vna santa Catalina e la otra santa Barbara eotras santas’ [six alabaster statues, one of St Catherine, another of St Barbara, and other female saints].
The panel of John the Baptist holds a scroll ‘ecce agnus Dei qui tollit [peccata mundi]’ [behold the lamb of God, that takes away the sin of the world]. St Barbara, alongside him, presents her tower.
See Brown’s chapter on prayer (Brown 2017, pp. 345–457). Brown cites nineteenth- and twentieth-century authors who refer to ‘mere repetition of sacred formulae’, condemning written prayer as a ‘faint reflection of the burning prayer of his heart’.
König (2012, p. 10) comments on how the use of Latin was barrier to most lay users, although not to Juana whose grounding in Latin was substantial.
This question recalls one posed in a recent article on oral prayers written by Isabel de Villena (1430–1490) and transmitted as part of a narrative in her Vita Christi (Twomey 2016, p. 177).
Figure 1. London, British Library, Add. MS 18852, fol. 26r. Hours of the Guardian Angel.
Figure 1. London, British Library, Add. MS 18852, fol. 26r. Hours of the Guardian Angel.
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Figure 2. London, British Library, Add. MS 18852, fol. 287v. Virgin and Child, Virgo lactans.
Figure 2. London, British Library, Add. MS 18852, fol. 287v. Virgin and Child, Virgo lactans.
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Figure 3. London, British Library, Add. MS 18852, fol. 288r, Juana at prayer with St John the Evangelist.
Figure 3. London, British Library, Add. MS 18852, fol. 288r, Juana at prayer with St John the Evangelist.
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Figure 4. London, British Library, Add. MS 18852, fol. 319r. Rosaries.
Figure 4. London, British Library, Add. MS 18852, fol. 319r. Rosaries.
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Figure 5. London, British Library, Add. MS 18852, fol. 15r. Speculum conscientie.
Figure 5. London, British Library, Add. MS 18852, fol. 15r. Speculum conscientie.
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Twomey, L.K. Juana of Castile’s Book of Hours: An Archduchess at Prayer. Religions 2020, 11, 201.

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Twomey LK. Juana of Castile’s Book of Hours: An Archduchess at Prayer. Religions. 2020; 11(4):201.

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Twomey, Lesley K. 2020. "Juana of Castile’s Book of Hours: An Archduchess at Prayer" Religions 11, no. 4: 201.

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