"[Book of Hours Leaf]", Hardouin, Gilles
Subject: Early Printing
Period: 1526 (circa)
Color: Hand Color
4.4 x 7.1 inches
11.2 x 18 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.
Unusual vellum leaf printed in Gothic textura type with illuminated capitals in red, blue and gold. The text is surrounded by elaborate scenes which are iron engravings. This is from a Book of Hours printed on vellum by Gilles Hardouin for Germain Hardouin librayre demourant entre les deux portes du Palays en l’enseigne Saincte Marguerite (bookseller living between the two gates of the Palace at the sign of Saint Marguerite) of Paris. These leaves are from the transitional period when the new technology of printing with movable type was combined with the more labor intensive methods of hand painting. Printed vellum Book of Hours leaves are very scarce, as they were only produced between 1496 and 1530. The text is from the Benedictus, or Canticle of Zechariah, which is taken from Luke 1: 68-79 and is the prayer recited by Zechariah at the birth of John the Baptist. Beginning with the large "B" on recto, the text translates in part as:
Blessed be the Lord, God of Israel,
because He has visited us and wrought redemption for His people.
And has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the House of David, His servant.
As He hath promised through the mouths of His holy ones,
the prophets of old:
Salvation from our enemies,
and from the hand of all who hate us.
Minor marginal soiling.