"[Illuminated Leaf]", Poitevin, Jean, de
Subject: Early Printing
Period: 1503 (published)
Publication: Book of Hours
5.5 x 8.2 inches
14 x 20.8 cm
The word incunabula derives from the Latin cuna (cradle), and is used to denote books printed during the infancy of printing in the latter half of the 15th century. The earliest printers were trained in the manuscript tradition and incorporated the conventions of historiated initials and illustrations into their early work. At first they left those spaces blank for the illuminator to complete entirely by hand. Later they developed printing methods (using woodcuts or iron engravings) to decorate the leaves.
A very rare and fine printed leaf of vellum from the Paris workshop of Jean de Poitevin, who is credited with producing only one Book of Hours. The text is printed in both Latin and French, a common practice during this brief transitional period. The text is surrounded by illustrations and the verso includes three illuminated initials in red, blue and gold. The text is from the Hours of the Cross and can be found in John 19, 25. The last 6 lines on the verso are in French.