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c1500s Leaf from Printed Book of Hours with Metalcuts - Breaking of the Bread

By Simon de Vostre / Philippe Pigouchet


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Book of Hours: Paris, c1500s.

Fine original leaf from an early printed Book of Hours produced in Paris circa 1500. From an unknown imprint of Philippe Pigouchet's Horae for Simon de Vostre embellished with numerous border metalcuts after designs by the Master of the Tres Petites Heures of Anne of Brittany.

Ruled Latin text printed in red and black on paper. Initials, line endings and paragraph markers printed in red. Large full page metalcut depicting Jesus beaking bread at a table with two stangers.

Whereas most manuscript Books of Hours were illuminated with colorful miniatures, printed editions such as this one were embellished with numerous metalcut illustrations and decorative borders. These border vignettes run parallel to the main text but are staggered and do not relate to it directly, thus providing secondary narratives for the reader to follow.

This leaf survives as a charming example of one of the most important types of books printed in 16th century Paris.

Books of Hours, which consisted of diverse prayers, psalms, and biblical selections, provided lay persons of the Middle Ages with a highly popular source of daily reading for private devotion. Because of the costly materials and labor of scribes and illuminators, manuscript Books of Hours were too expensive for most people. With the turn of the sixteenth century and the advent of the printing press, Parisian printers greatly expanded the market for Books of Hours as costs became accessible to the laity.

Condition: As shown, on paper in good condition with a few age marks, creasing and small chips to outer margins and fraying to inner margin. 16.5 x 10.5 cm.
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