Catalog Archive
Auction 192, Lot 725

Superb Contemporary Hand Color with Gilt Highlights

"[Book of Hours Leaf]", Hardouin, Gilles

Subject: Early Printing

Period: 1518 (published)


Color: Hand Color

4.6 x 7.1 inches
11.7 x 18 cm
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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 hand-colored image of Mary carrying baby Jesus on a donkey with the angel Gabriel walking behind them is accompanied by Latin verses that translate as:

O God, come to my assistance
O Lord, make haste to help me

The recto of this vellum leaf has verses with initials that were hand painted in red, blue and burnished gold, surrounded by elaborate iron engravings that feature additional biblical scenes. This leaf 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.


Condition: A

Clean and bright.

Estimate: $800 - $950

Sold for: $1,900

Closed on 4/26/2023