"[Illuminated Leaf]", Hardouin, Gilles
Subject: Early Printing
Period: 1500 (circa)
Publication: Book of Hours
5 x 7.5 inches
12.7 x 19.1 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 fine vellum leaf from a very early printed Book of Hours. The printed text in black ink is illuminated by hand with panels of leaves and flowers and illuminated initials, on both sides. The verso also contains a finely painted miniature of the Annunciation showing the angel Gabriel and the Virgin Mary (Luke 1). The text is printed in both Latin and French, as the vernacular was gradually replacing Latin in prayer books for 'commoners'.
Minor light stains in text and a spot in margin.