Current Auction
Lot 706
Current Auction

Superb Image of the Annunciation in Contemporary Hand Color with Gilt Highlights

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

Subject: Early Printing

Period: 1518 (circa)


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 shows the Annunciation, which is the traditional introduction to matins and the first of the eight canonical hours. This striking scene recalls the archangel Gabriel's announcement to the Virgin Mary that she was to become the mother of God. The humble scene, steeped in monumentality and innocence, honors one of the most significant moments in Christian history -- the coming of God into the world. The verses at bottom translate as:

Thou O Lord wilt open my lips.
And my mouth shall declare thy praise.
Incline unto my aid O God.

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: A

A bright leaf with an uneven left edge where it was cut from the bible.

Estimate: $900 - $1,100

Sold for: $650

Closed on 6/19/2024