"[Book of Hours Leaf]", Anon.
Subject: Early Printing
Period: 1515 (circa)
Color: Hand Color
5 x 7.4 inches
12.7 x 18.8 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.
Unusual vellum leaf printed in Gothic textura type with illuminated capitals in red, blue and burnished gold leaf. The text is surrounded by elaborate iron engravings that include biblical scenes and mythical creatures. Printed vellum Book of Hours leaves are very scarce, as they were only produced between 1496 and 1530. The text includes Psalm 101, which translates in part as:
Hear, O Lord, my prayer: and let my cry come to thee.
Turn not away thy face from me: in the day when I am in trouble, incline thy ear to me.
In what day soever I shall call upon thee, hear me speedily.
For my days are vanished like smoke: and my bones are grown dry like fuel for the fire.
I am smitten as grass, and my heart is withered: because I forgot to eat my bread.
Through the voice of my groaning, my bone hath cleaved to my flesh.
A bright sheet with minor soiling, trimmed to the image at top right by the bookbinder.