King François I’s Book of Hours
Purchased by the French monarch in 1538, King François I’s Book of Hours is a dazzling masterpiece of the French Renaissance. A splendid combination of precious stones, metalwork and illumination, this unprecedented jeweled prayer book bears witness to this flourishing period of art history. Written entirely by hand, with sixteen full-page painted illustrations, it has a sumptuous gold binding adorned with precious stones that is a gem in its own right.
This “Tous mécènes!” campaign provided the unique opportunity to bring this miraculously preserved jewel back to France. It regained its rightful place in the museum’s royal collections, inherited by the Louvre.