PRINTED ON VELLUM

Book of Hours, Use of Rome, in Latin and French. Ces presentes heures sont a lusaige de Romme toutes au long sans requerir.

[Paris: Germain Hardouyn, 1534].

£22,500

8vo. 100 unnumbered leaves, A-M8, N4. 28 lines. Letter Bâtard. 15 large half page metalcuts, all freely illuminated in gold and colours by a contemporary hand, gold-painted architectural borders, ruled in red, to each large cut, borders to each page ruled in red painted with gold, entirely rubricated with liquid-gold initials and line-filler on alternate red and blue grounds, nine vellum leaves of additional prayers in Latin  (Gratiarum actio sanctissimae & individuae trinitati) and German in two later hands. A1r, title with Hardouin device, his printer’s device with shield overpainted with arms of the first owner, with two keys, painted architectural border, title manuscript in gold on red painted ground, sprays of flowers and laurels to the sides, A1v with verses in French beginning ‘Ohostie tressalutaire’, A2r almanac for 1534-1548, A2r-B1r calendar, B1v-3v Gospel sequence (one large cut), B3r-C3r Passion according to St. John (one large cut), C3r-E1r Hours of the Virgin (two large cuts), E1v-E2r Hours of the Cross and of the Holy Ghost (large cut of Crucifixion), E2v-H1v Office of the Immaculate Conception and Beata Maria (seven large cuts), H2r-I2v Seven Penitential Psalms (large cut Bathsheba), I3r-K1r Office of the Dead (cut of Job on his dungheap), K1v-N4r Suffrages, prayers to the saints, hours of the Virgin, Stabat Mater, N4r-v, table of contents, early autograph illegible at foot of title page, book plate of G. Nordback on pastedown. Vellum very fractionally yellowed in places, painting to outer margin of title a little rubbed, very rare marginal thumb mark. A very good, clean copy with the painting and gold absolutely fresh and clean, in early C17th black morocco, covers bordered with double gilt rule, fleurons gilt to corners, spine with gilt-ruled raised bands, richly gilt in compartments fleurons to centres, initials F. T. gilt to centre of lower compartment, all edges gilt. A little rubbed and scratched.

Extremely rare, finely printed and beautifully illuminated Book of Hours, on good quality vellum with the cuts finely illuminated in gold and colour in a small rectangular format. The illuminator has not simply coloured the cuts beneath, but has freely painted over them or extended the painting of the figures beyond the original borders. Books of Hours were used by individuals at home rather than in church. A calendar was attached to the front so that memorial days of the saints could be identified. They were typically structured around the hourly prayers observed in monasteries, and Catholics would recite the appropriate liturgy eight times a day. These books served as symbols of status and and were often luxurious items, gifts given on important occasions.

“An important point to notice in connection with the illustrations of French ‘Books of Hours’ at this time is that they are nearly all inspired by German artists and nearly all copied from illuminated MSS.” Joseph Cundall. ‘A Brief History of Wood engraving.’

The Hardouin’s workshop dominated the market of printed Books of Hours in Paris between 1510 and 1550. Gillet Hardouin worked primarily as a printer, between 1500 and 1542, and German Hardouin was registered in the Guild of Illuminators. They were the only editors capable of both printing and illumination without commissioning other professionals. They often used fine, densely ornamented metal cut borders, however they had gone out of fashion by the time this volume was produced, which gives it a much cleaner and clearer style than its early incarnations.

The quality of their work is remarkable. It seems that they produced Books of Hours in various formats, from ordinary copies printed on paper, to those printed on vellum with woodcuts, and the most luxurious where the entire book was illuminated over the original cuts, most often on commission for a specific client for whom the book was tailored, as here where the client has had his personal arms painted on the title. Extremely rare: we have found no other copy of this edition in any online catalogues or at auction. Bohatta cites a copy seen in a private collection. Lacombe cites two other editions by Hardouyn of the same year, also for the use of Rome, but with different collations, both less substantial than this edition.

The arms on the title are very similar to those Baron Etienne de Clugny’s ( Guigard II 149), and it is probable that this work was commissioned by an earlier generation of his family. Unfortunately, we have not discovered the owner of the initials F.T. on the binding. A very rare and beautiful work.

Bohatta 1170. Not in Lacombe.

L2026

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