BOOK OF HOURS Horae beate marie virginis secundum usum Romanum

[Paris], [Philippe Pigouchet pour Simon Vostre], (1506 ?) [Calendar 1502-1520]


8vo. ff. [140]. [a]8, b-c8, d4, e-s8. Gothic letter, on vellum, 21 lines. 18 full-page metalcuts within metalcut architectural borders, 28 smaller metalcuts in text, and several hundred border metalcuts, many white on black, criblé, rubricated, with liquid-gold initials and line-filler on alternate red and blue grounds of 1 or 2 lines, front vellum fly with contemporary manuscript prayer, ‘Ave Maria’, A1r Title page full page white on black woodcut of Vostre’s device of two leopards (Renouard 1107), A1v almanac for 1502-1520, A2r Skeleton (Zodiacal Man) with four small cuts and text in French, A2v-A8r calendar, a8r-b4r Gospel sequence, b4v-c2v Passion according to St. John, c3v-f3v Hours of the Virgin, f4r-s6r, Seven Penitential Psalms followed by the Hours of the Cross and the Hours of the Holy Spirit, suffrages, mass of St. Gabriel, the hours of the conception, the seven prayers of St. Gregory, s6v-s7r Prayer to God the Father in French, s7v-18v table in French. Vellum very fractionally yellowed in places, very rare marginal mark or very minor thumb soiling, small patch offsetting from one page onto the cut of the Shepherds. A very good copy, in contemporary Parisian calf over thin wooden boards, covers quintuple blind ruled with a central Gril de St Laurent design with floral and lozenge blind rolls, spine with raised bands, well rebacked to match.

A lovely copy of this very rare book of hours finely printed on vellum by Simon Vostre, stunningly and profusely illustrated with two suites of full page woodcuts, a smaller set of woodcuts in the text and a remarkable set of woodcut borders including a complete dance of death (masculine and feminine) all based on designs by Jean Pichore and Jean d’Ypres [also known as the Master of Anne de Bretagne]. Printed Books of Hours beautifully demonstrate the transition between the medieval manuscript the printed they follow the tradition of the medieval illuminated Book of Hours with all the new techniques of print. The beautiful detailed metalcuts still follow the traditional iconography of the manuscript Book of Hours, and replace traditional manuscript components, including painted initials, line fillers, and borders on every text page, with further sets of metalcuts.

This example contains illustrations designed by two of the most prolific artists of late-fifteenth- and early-sixteenth-century Paris, both of whom actively supplied designs for the printing trade. “Jean Pichore (active c. 1502–22) who, like the Apocalypse Master, [also known as the Master d’Anne de Bretagne] was a prolific illuminator of manuscripts. Together these two artists were the principal designers of illustrations in Parisian printed books of hours. Pichore also ventured at least once into publishing; together with Rémi de Laistre he published a book of hours, dated 5 April 1503 (1504 n.s.), which he had illustrated with his own printed designs. His designs were subsequently used by publishers Simon Vostre, Thielman Kerver Guillaume Eustache, Germain and Gillet Hardouyn and Anthoine Vérard, among others. Compared to the Apocalypse Master’s essentially French Gothic art, Pichore’s looser, more fluid style is indebted to French and German Renaissance artists such as Poyet, Dürer and Schongauer.” Hilary Maddocks “A book of hours by Anthoine Vérard in the University of Melbourne Library”

The Master of the Très Petites Heures d’Anne de Bretagne played an important role in the production of printed Books of Hours suppling several series of woodcuts for various editions, based on designs that are also found in manuscripts he painted. His style is slightly more antiquated than that of Pichore and usually framed within Gothic architectural elements. His work, particularly the dance of death borders, are particularly charming and his use of white on black criblé grounds very effective and visually striking.

The binding shares a near identical design with one in the British Library, Shelfmark c27e2, which uses the same floral roll, also over wooden boards, also on a book of hours printed on Vellum circa 1507 by Simon Vostre, uncoloured with border illustration, in a 140 leaves of 21 lines, though with a slightly different collation. This might indicate that the binding was made for the editor. It is certainly strictly contemporary.

Bohatta 752, (three copies only) not in Lacombe, or Brunet.
Stock Number: L2407 Category: Tag:

In stock