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The title of this manuscript in the British Library, is “Hours of Joanna I of Castile” or the “Hours of Joanna the Mad” [1]. She was born in 1479, was queen of Castile from 1504 and of Aragon from 1516. From the union of these two crowns modern Spain evolved. Joanna married Philip the Handsome (Philip I of Castille), who was crowned King of Castile in 1506, initiating the rule of the Habsburgs in Spain. After Philip’s death that same year, Joanna became mentally ill and was confined to a nunnery for the rest of her life. Though she remained the legal queen of Castile throughout this time, her father, Ferdinand II of Aragon, was regent until his death, when she inherited his kingdom as well. From 1517, her son, Charles, ruled as king in her name [2]. 

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Her Book of Hours is dated between 1486 and 1506, and made in Brugues, now in Flanders [1].

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On folio 15r the first snail is seen. The sinistral shell is brownish with spiral bands. The animal is greyish, darker on the upper side, with all four tentacles shown. This page is the start of the Mirror of Conscience.

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Folio 36r, initiating prayers to various saints, has the same species which is now directed to the right. The shell is dextral.

Ff. 50r-159v are the Hours of the Passion of Christ, with a hymn to the Virgin Maria.

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On folio 60r, in the lower border again, a sinistral snail is present with a greyish shell and body.

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Folio 80v has a similar figure, this time in the upper marginalia of the text.

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At the same position on the page, folio 82v shows a dextral specimen of the same species.

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Folio 91r has a malacomorph hybrid, with a bearded man in a blue coat, topped with a green cap, and armoured with a shield and a big stick; he emerges from a brownish dextral shell, of which the large aperture has an expanded lip. This figure can also be seen as an interesting variation on the ‘knight & snail’ theme.

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Another hybrid, which may be interpreted as malacomorph, is present on folio 104r. It shows a sinistral shell which is used as the body of a rooster. From the aperture protrudes the blue helmeted head of a woman.

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Folio 122v has a scene in the lower maginalia of a bird and a snail, set among flowers and grass. The snail is dextral, with a greyish shell; the animal is brownish.

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On folio 141r a dextral snail is seen positioned in the upper marginalia. The animal is sketchy, the shell is brownish.

Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, use of Rome, followed by the Seven Penitential Psalms, litany, and prayers, is on ff. 195r-327r.

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A snail turns up again on folio 202v. It is similar to the previous one.

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A dextral specimen may be seen on folio 241r. The animal is light coloured and shown from below, while the shell is seen in top view from above. Thus either a tormented snail or an artist with fantasy…

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On folio 305r below the text a hybrid is shown, where a deer is combined with a dextral shell; it has one continuous spiral band and two interrupted ones.

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A more or less mirror image of this malacomorph hybrid is shown on folio 305v, with two continuous spiral bands.

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A reddish dextral shell is seen on folio 346v, which is part of the Psalter of St. Jerome. The greyish animal is casting a shadow in front (thus seemingly with four large tentacles; there is only a hint of one of the small tentacles).

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Folio 349v presents a similar animal, otherwise on a page without text. The animal suggests to have blackish dots in its body pattern.

Note:
[1] BLL, Add.Ms. 18852, 422 ff. http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/FullDisplay.aspx?ref=Add_MS_18852.
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joanna_of_Castile.

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