Throughout the Middle Ages, the aristocracy engaged with the Bible through elegant devotionals known as books of hours. The Bohun Book of Hours and Psalter features the crests of three noble families corresponding to the life story of Elizabeth de Bohun, Countess of Northampton. Richly illuminated and featuring expert calligraphy, the manuscript and its elaborate ornamentation exemplifies only the countess’ later life. As a child, her father was executed, and she was imprisoned for a time in the Tower of London. After being widowed, it was William De Bohun, her second husband, with whom she commissioned the Psalter portion of the manuscript. Centuries later, that same book of hours was put on display in New York City to raise money for the pedestal for the Statue of Liberty.
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