The 209 folios of The Hours of Jeanne d'Evreux include 25 full-page paintings with paired images from the Infancy and Passion of Christ and scenes of the life of Saint Louis. The figures are rendered in delicate grisaille (shades of gray) that imparts an amazingly sculptural quality, and the images are accented with rich reds and blues and touches of orange, yellow, pink, lilac, and turquoise. In the margins, close to 700 illustrations depict the bishops, beggars, street dancers, maidens, and musicians that peopled the streets of medieval Paris, as well as apes, rabbits, dogs, and creatures of sheer fantasy. All are brought to life by the keen observation, accomplished draftsmanship, and consummate imagination of the artist.
This lavishly illustrated prayer book (Book of Hours) was created between 1324 and 1328 for Jeanne d'Evreux, queen of France, by the celebrated Parisian illuminator Jean Pucelle (active ca. 1320-34) and was intended for use by the queen during private prayer throughout the course of the day. Upon her death in 1371, Jeanne d'Èvreux left the prayer book to King Charles V. At his death, the book entered the collection of another much lauded bibliophile, his brother Jean, duc de Berry.