"[Book of Hours Leaf]", Kerver, Thielman
Subject: Early Printing
Period: 1500 (circa)
Color: Hand Color
4.9 x 8.1 inches
12.4 x 20.6 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 Parisian 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 a superb border decoration with leaves, flowers and scrolls. The text on recto is in Latin and appears to be the last page of the Book of Hours. On verso the text is in French giving a table of the various parts of the prayer book, and ends with "Les presentes heures a lusaige de Romme tout au long sans riens requerir[;] Avec les grans suffrages ont este nouvellement imprimees a Paris" (The present hours, for the use of Rome ... newly printed in Paris). The Latin text on recto includes the lyrics to a song by Alexandre Agricola (1445-1506), and beginning with the large "A" translate as:
Hail, Most Holy Mary, mother of God, Queen of Heaven, gate of paradise, Queen of the earth, uniquely pure: You are the Virgin; without sin you conceived Jesus; you carried the creator and Savior of the world; of this, there is no doubt. Free us from all evil, and pray for our sins. Amen.
Light toning and soiling, primarily on the recto, and several small worm holes.