"[Book of Hours Leaf]", Anon.
Subject: Early Printing
Period: 1500 (circa)
Color: Hand Color
5.8 x 8.8 inches
14.7 x 22.4 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 in Latin and is surrounded by elaborate iron engravings that include plants, animals, and cherubs, as well as several biblical scenes with captions in French. Printed vellum Book of Hours leaves are very scarce, as they were only produced between 1496 and 1530. The text is from Psalm 37, which translates in part as:
Rebuke me not, O Lord, in thy indignation; nor chastise me in thy wrath.
For thy arrows are fastened in me: and thy hand hath been strong upon me.
There is no health in my flesh, because of thy wrath: there is no peace for my bones, because of my sins.
For my iniquities are gone over my head: and as a heavy burden are become heavy upon me.
My sores are putrified and corrupted, because of my foolishness.
I am become miserable, and am bowed down even to the end: I walked sorrowful all the day long.