Catalog Archive
Auction 173, Lot 455


"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Early Printing

Period: 1500 (published)


Color: Hand Color

4.9 x 8 inches
12.4 x 20.3 cm
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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.

A rare vellum leaf from a Book of Hours, made during the transitional period when printing and illumination were combined. The printers at that time used the same type of letters that were used by the scribes, so the result looked like a manuscript. The initials, line fillers and border were then added by hand. This leaf includes numerous initials and line fillers, as well as a superb border decoration with leaves, flowers and scrolls. On recto, the large "o" near the top of the text is part of the commemoration of the Saints in the Office of the Blessed Virgin:

May all Thy Saints, O Lord, we beseech Thee, everywhere assist us, that, whilst we celebrate their merits, we may be sensible of their protection. Grant us Thy peace in our times, and repel all wickedness from Thy church; guide our steps, actions and desires prosperously, and those of all Thy servants, in the way of salvation; give eternal blessings to those who have done good to us, and everlasting rest to the faithful departed. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.


Condition: A

Light marginal soiling.

Estimate: $200 - $230

Sold for: $170

Closed on 6/5/2019