"[Illuminated Leaf]", Hardouin, Gilles
Subject: Early Printing
Period: 1500 (circa)
Publication: Book of Hours
5 x 7.8 inches
12.7 x 19.8 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.
A very fine vellum leaf from the Office of the Dead, Psalm 129. The printed text is hand-illuminated with numerous initials in red, blue gold and the margins contain panels of multi-colored acanthus leaves and flowers. Both side are beautifully decorated.