Auction 97, Lot 559

"[Illuminated Leaf]", Hardouin, Gilles

Subject: Early Printing

Period: 1500 (circa)

Publication: Book of Hours


4.8 x 7.6 inches
12.2 x 19.3 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.

This leaf is a fine example of the transition period with crisply printed text in black ink and beautiful panels of leaves and flowers drawn in the margins. It is further illuminated with a miniature of the Annunciation. The text is one of the most moving of all prayers in the Book of Hours: Obsecro te domina sancta Maria mater dei pietate plenissima: summi Regis filia: mater gloriosissima: mater orphanorum: consolatio desolatorum via errantium: salus omnium in te sperantium... [I beseech you Mary, holy lady, mother of God, most full of piety, daughter of the greatest king, most glorious mother, mother of orphans, consolation of the desolate, the way of those who stray, salvation for all who hope in you…].


Condition: B

Stain and a small cut in lower margin and a bit of smudging in the decoration.

Estimate: $300 - $350

Sold for: $220

Closed on 12/5/2001