Auction 103, Lot 605

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Kerver, Thielman

Subject: Early Printing

Period: 1523 (circa)



4.4 x 6.7 inches
11.2 x 17 cm

This leaf is from the brief transitional period when the new technology of printing with movable type was combined with the more labor intensive methods of hand painting. 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.

An unusual vellum leaf from this transitional period with the text printed in both black and red. Two large and two small initials were then hand-painted and illuminated with gold. This leaf has prayers to the saints Magdalena, Katherina, Margareta and Barbara. The saints are depicted in metalcut illustrations in the text. The margins are filled with unrelated pictures; one may be Herod's daughter with the head of John the Baptist and on the other side is an archer with bow and arrow. Thielman Kerver was a printer in Paris, who worked "in vico sancti Iacobi/ad signum Vnicornis / & ibidem venales habent" (in saint Jacob's lane/ in the sign of the Unicorn / where they are also for sale).


Condition: A

Minor soil in margins.

Estimate: $200 - $250

Sold for: $150

Closed on 6/11/2003