"[Vellum Leaf]", Kerver, Thielman
Subject: Early Printing
Period: 1507 (published)
Color: Hand Color
4.3 x 6.3 inches
10.9 x 16 cm
Striking vellum leaf from this important transitional period when books began to be printed from movable type, decorated with metal-cut illustrations and combined with hand-painted illuminated initials. It is printed on vellum in black and red with many initials hand painted in red, blue and gold. Around the text are many scenes from the Danse Macabre, a popular subject with medieval artists; the Death is depicted dancing with the Rectrix, Amator (Lover), Religiosa (Nun), and Vidua (Widow). The text is from the Office of the Dead, the last part of Job 10, Psalm 50 and the beginning of Psalm 64.
The firm of Thielman Kerver is best known for its lovely printed Books of Hours, many of which include hand-painted miniatures and initial letters. Thielman Kerver, who was one of France’s most prolific printers of such books, began printing Books of Hours in 1497, and continued until his death in 1522. At this time, his widow, Iolande Bonhomme, took over the firm, and continued to produce liturgical books of different types until 1556. Kerver's work is much less common than that of his colleagues, Simon Vostre and the Hardouins.