Catalog Archive
Auction 197, Lot 748

Superb Image of the Immaculate Conception of Mary in Contemporary Hand Color with Gilt Highlights

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

Subject: Early Printing

Period: 1520 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

5.8 x 8.8 inches
14.7 x 22.4 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 shows the Virgin Mary surrounded by emblems of the Immaculate Conception, including the sun, the moon, a star, a rose bush, a fountain, a mirror, the tower of David, a lily, a well, an olive tree, and an enclosed garden. Mary stands in a white dress with her hands clasped in prayer, with God above her and a banner that translates as: "You are very beautiful, my beloved, and there is no stain in you." The text below the image is part of Psalm 50 (in the Vulgate), and translates as:

O Lord, you will open my lips, and my mouth will announce your praise.

The text continues on verso with: "O God, reach out to help me. O Lord, hasten to assist me."

The verso of this vellum leaf includes initials that were hand painted in red, blue and burnished gold, surrounded by elaborate iron engravings that feature additional biblical scenes. This vellum 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: B+

Light toning and soiling along the edges of the leaf. Trimmed at top to the edge of the image by the bookbinder.

Estimate: $1,000 - $1,300


Closed on 4/24/2024