Catalog Archive
Auction 197, Lot 745

Hand-Colored Images of Matthew and Luke

"[Book of Hours Leaf]",

Subject: Early Printing

Period: 1510 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

4.3 x 6.8 inches
10.9 x 17.3 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 buttery vellum leaf features a hand-colored image of Saint Matthew writing his gospel in red, blue and burnished gold leaf. The text is surrounded by elaborate iron engravings that feature plants, flowers, mythical creatures, and a scene of a hunt. The text adjacent to the image of Matthew translates in part as:

At that time, when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judah in the days of Herod the King, behold, there came Sages from the East to Jerusalem, saying, where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the East, and are come to adore him.

On verso is a hand-colored image of physician Luke with the text translating as:

The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee, whose name was Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary.


Condition: A

Minor wear.

Estimate: $400 - $475


Closed on 4/24/2024