"[Book of Hours Leaf]", Anon.
Subject: Early Printing
Period: 1500 (circa)
Color: Hand Color
4.5 x 6.6 inches
11.4 x 16.8 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 superb vellum leaf has printed text and iron engravings with illumination in red, blue and burnished gold. The large images on recto shows gatherings of apostles, prophets and religious leaders praising the Holy Church, and is surrounded by smaller vignettes. The banners surrounding the large images translates as:
The glorious company of the Apostles praise Thee
The goodly fellowship of the Prophets praise Thee
The holy Church throughout all the world
The noble army of Martyrs praise Thee
We praise thee, O God
The Father everlasting.
All the earth doth worship thee.
The text on verso is from the Angelic Trisagion prayer and is surrounded by additional iron engravings. The text translates in part as:
Almighty, ever-living God, who has permitted us Thy servants, in our profession of the true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of that majesty to adore the Unity, grant, that by steadfastness in this same faith, we may be ever guarded against all adversity: through Christ our Lord.
Light toning and soiling.