HEURES À L'USAGE DE ROME, 22 AOÛT 1498. In French and Latin.
Incunabula are rare. Printed incunabula on vellum all the more. There are only 34 copies known of this work (some of them are on paper, and not printed on vellum, like here. This was the deluxe version. Bibliographical info: https://data.cerl.org/istc/ih00394000. ISTC datebase.
In the Gothic period, there was a strong desire on the part of lay people to imitate the devotional practices of monks and nuns. The “Book of Hours” foresaw in that need and quickly became the medieval bestseller.
1. Anatomical man with texts in French on the humours that correspond to each of the four elements (*) On verso: Holy grail.
2. St. John the Evangelist in the Cauldron of Boiling Oil (faded)
2. Betrayal of Christ, Judas (a bit faded)
3. The ancestors of Christ, shown in a tree which rises from Jesse of Bethlehem, the father of King David.
5. Mary visits her relative Elizabeth; they are both pregnant. Mary is pregnant with Jesus and Elizabeth is pregnant with John the Baptist.
9. Annunciation to the Shepherds *
10. Adoration of the Magi.
12. Presentation in the Temple
13. Flight into Egypt
14. Death of the Virgin
15. The death of Uriah the Hettite (looking like a medieval tournemant)
16. Bathsheba at the well
17. Last judgement
18. The rich man (from the parable of Lazarus)
19. The trinity (*)
20. The deposition of Christ
21. Feast of the Ascension *
4 leaves are missing. Two leaves somewhat faded. Repairs to the margins of two copies. Four missing miniatures (indicate by *) supplied in expert facsimile, nearly indistinguishable from real. Letters illuminated in gold throughout. Small quarto. Handsome blind stamped calf pastiche binding. A binding in the style of the time.
The borders are populated with religious scenes but also with scenes from everyday life (hunting scene, eating & drinking, picking of fruit) and fantasy figures (a snail on a lion. Mermaids and devils, children pursed by a dragon.) There is even a man shitting coins on a plate held by a jester with a snails body. The level of detail is incredible.
The artist who worked on this book also executed panel and wall paintings, tapestries and stained-glass windows. This is the first time that the printer Pigouchet introduced the so called criblé ground, in which the black areas of a woodblock are punched with white dots, giving the page a lively tonality. If you type in google books, you can see the entire digitilased version of this book, Ces Presentes Heures a lusaige de Ro[m]me fure[n]t acheuez lan mil.CCCC.iiii ...
A two months ago a copy at auction in France sold for over 26.000 euro.
- Number of Books
- Graphic design, Incunabula & early printing, Religion
- Author/ Illustrator
- Book of Hours
- Book Title
- Incunabula Book of Hours Printed on Vellum: Heures À L'usage De Rome
- Publication year oldest item
- 1st Edition
- French, Latin
- Original language
- Philippe Pigouchet, for Simon Vostre,
- Binding/ Material
- Number of pages
- 20.5×17 cm