Books being honoured! 

21st of April 2020

Novels, poetry collections, liturgical manuscripts, strip cartoons and academic research, among others. Throughout history, books have created bonds between cultures and generations and have served as tools of transmission and education. Since its creation, the King Baudouin has been active in their preservation and as a result we have acquired a multitude of works to be safeguarded for future generations. 

World Book and Copyright Day gives the opportunity to the King Baudouin Foundation to promote her book collection, as well as the work of conservation and research conducted by its partner museums, to which the works have been entrusted.   

We are delighted to invite you, in the company of our partner museums, to discover these masterpieces of literature!  

Books of hours 

As major testimonies to the end of the Middle Ages, several books of hours have joined our collection over the years. These manuscripts, which are collections of liturgical texts for secular people, are richly illuminated. The institutions where these masterpieces are kept will guide you on your discovery of them.   

The KBR, Royal Library of Belgium, enables you to leaf through the Tavernier Hours from the comfort of your sofa! Made in 1458, this manuscript came from the private library of the Dukes of Burgundy and contains extremely rare prayers commissioned by King Philippe le Bon (Philippe the Good) himself.   

The Municipal Library of Bruges presents a video of the Bowet Book of Hours, made in Bruges around 1410-1420. Decorated with 16 full-page miniatures, this manuscript is an indispensable part of our heritage, both for its rarity and the amazing quality of its execution.

Kept at the KBR, the Royal Library of Belgium, the van Reynegom Book of Hours is the subject of a book published by the King Baudouin Foundation, which we should like to suggest you read (again). This breviary, which belonged to Canon Corneille van Reynegom, is richly illustrated with 29 miniatures and decorated margins and initials. 

The Tramerie Hours, entrusted to the Tournai City Library, is a key manuscript for learning more about the art of illumination in Tournai at the start of the 16th century. Every page of the book is illuminated and fifteen of them show scenes surrounded by borders of animals and plants. The Claire and Michel Lemay Fund, which acquired the work in 2015, is currently supporting scientific research on the manuscript.   

Bibliotheca Wittockiana 

The Bibliotheca Wittockiana, a museum devoted to the arts of the book in Brussels, houses a collection of bookbindings, dating from the 16th century to the present day. Michel Wittock, its founder, donated this to the King Baudouin Foundation in 2010, with a view to preserving these masterpieces of bookbinding. During this period of confinement, the museum has launched a Youtube channel, which we invite you to discover. You can also find the Bibliotheca Wittockiana on Facebook, where the museum is pleased to share its « Treasures of confinement».    

The 9th art 

The King Baudouin Foundation also plays an important role in safeguarding Belgium’s strip cartoon heritage. Our collection includes original artwork and archives of several representatives of the 9th art, such as Edgar P. Jacobs, Didier Comès and François Schuiten.  

The Heritage Fund will shortly be honouring the Belgian artist Didier Comès in the exhibition 'Comès, d’ombre et de Silence' (Comès, of shadow and silence) at the BELvue Museum. However, while we are waiting for visits to the exhibition to be possible, why not visit our Heritage website to discover more about the artist and his work? You can also order our publication 'Didier Comès. L’éclat du noir profound' (The Brilliance of Deepest Black) or view it online

To mark the receipt in donation of original artwork by François Schuiten, the King Baudouin Foundation has published 'Le Temps des Cités' (The Times of Cities), available online, which will immerse you in the world of François Schuiten.  

The King Baudouin Foundation has also been donated the original artwork and archives of the writer of Blake and Mortimer, in order to perpetuate his work. Edgar P. Jacobs is one of the most important figures of the 9th art.  

20th century writers

The Foundation has also acquired collections of books and archives of famous Belgian 20th century writers. These provide researchers with new perspectives on the writers’ work, their lives and literary circles, as well as on literary development in general.

The archives of Hugo Claus can be consulted online on the website of the Antwerp Letterenhuis. Over 1,000 works by Stijn Streuvels can be found on the online Erfgoedbibliotheek Hendrik Conscience catalogue. Collected by Streuvels expert Paul Thiers, they form a unique collection. The publication Lettres à Dominique Rollin, which contains 265 of the author’s 15,000 letters and his diary, can be ordered from Gallimard. These works have been entrusted to the Royal Library of Belgium.

John Simenon, George Simenon’s son, created a fund within the King Baudouin Foundation so as to preserve his father’s work for future generations.