"[Illuminated Leaf]", Hardouin, Gilles
Subject: Early Printing
Period: 1510 (circa)
Publication: Book of Hours
4.3 x 6.7 inches
10.9 x 17 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.
Superb vellum leaf from this transitional period - combining printed text, metal-cut illustration, and hand illumination. The large miniature on the recto depicts the Holy Family's flight to Egypt and the murderous Herod. The picture is painted, entirely by hand, within a gold architectural structure. It has been painted over another printed illustration, possibly to cover a printer's error. The text below the picture contains Psalm 109 (110 in the King James Version). The text on verso is surrounded by printed illustrations including Herod's daughter with the head of John the Baptist held on her sword. The text is hand illuminated with numerous initials in red, blue and gold.