"[Illuminated Leaf]", Hardouin, Gilles
Subject: Early Printing
Period: 1510 (circa)
Color: Hand Color
4.2 x 6.6 inches
10.7 x 16.8 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.
Fine vellum leaf from an early printed Book of Hours. The initials are handwritten in red, blue and gold and the margins are decorated with elaborate scenes from the Bible and contemporary life. This leaf contains a view of a medieval town with a castle and scenes from the Revelations (the seven candelabras and the Son of Man with the seven stars in his hand). The text is from the Hours of the Virgin, Matins, psalms 18, 23, & 44.