"[Illuminated Leaf]", Kerver, Thielman
Subject: Early Printing
Period: 1500 (circa)
Color: Hand Color
4.9 x 8 inches
12.4 x 20.3 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.
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. Beginning with the large initial "S" on recto is Psalm 128, which translates as:
Often have they fought against me from my youth, let Israel now say.
Often have they fought against me from my youth: but they could not prevail over me.
The wicked have wrought upon my back: they have lengthened their iniquity.
The Lord who is just will cut the necks of sinners:
let them all be confounded and turned back that hate Sion.
Let them be as grass on the tops of houses: which withered before it be plucked up:
Wherewith the mower filleth not his hand: nor he that gathereth sheaves his bosom.
And they that have passed by have not said: The blessing of the Lord be upon you: we have blessed you in the name of the Lord.
Some toning and abrasions.