"[Illuminated Bifolium]", Hardouin, Gilles
Subject: Early Printing
Period: 1526 (published)
Publication: Horae B.V.M. Secundumusum Romanvom
Color: Hand Color
4.5 x 7 inches
11.4 x 17.8 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.
This double-sheet vellum leaf is printed in Gothic textura type with illuminated capitals in red, blue and gold on both sides. The text is surrounded by elaborate scenes which are iron engravings. The verso of one leaf includes a fine miniature of Mary and Joseph's flight into Egypt. This is from a Book of Hours printed by Gilles Hardouin, one of the most prominent early printers of Paris. Printed vellum Book of Hours leaves are very scarce, as they were only produced between 1496 and 1530.
There is some stray color in the blank margins, else fine.