Sphinx, rabbits, grotesque, dragons metal cuts c. 1510


Book of Hours, c. 1510

                      "Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”


Verso:  Text in Latin and French printed on paper with two two-line hand illuminated initials in red & blue and with versal initials touched in yellow.  Metal cuts include rabbits, a sphinx and a devil.


Recto:  As Verso, with metal cuts of a grotesque playing a stringed instrument, putti and dragons. 


Printer:   Simon Vostre, Paris


Date:  c. 1510


Content:  Verso contains a section of the Prayers of St. Bridget, the last part of the Third Prayer, all of the Fourth and part of the Fifth.  The Fourth begins: O Jesu celestis medice recordare languoris livoris et doloris quos in alto crucis patibulo levatus passus es in omnibus dilaceratus membris tuis quorum nullum in suo statu recte permanserat ita ut nullus dolor similis tui doloris inveniretur quia a planta pedis usque ad verticem capitis non fuit in te sanitas et tunc quasi omnium dolorum immemor patrem pro inimicis exorasti dicens Pater ignosce illis quia nesciunt quid taciunt.

(O Jesus Heavenly Physician, raised aloft on the Cross to heal our wounds with Thine, remember the bruises which Thou didst suffer and the weakness of all Thy Members which were distended to such a degree that never was there pain like unto Thine. From the crown of Thy Head to the Soles of Thy Feet there was not one spot on Thy Body that was sound, and yet, forgetting all Thy sufferings, Thou didst not cease to pray to Thy Heavenly Father for Thy enemies, saying: "Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”


Condition:  The leaf is in excellent condition, sharply printed and finished with hand illumination.  It is unconditionally guaranteed genuine.


Size:  Size of leaf: approx. 165x110 mm. Printed area : approx.  150x95 mm.


Notes:  The prayers on this leaf are part of fifteen prayers that are known as the Prayers of St. Bridget.  Although the prayers are attributed to St. Bridget of Sweden (1303-1373), who was the founder of the Brigittines, she did not in fact write them. They were composed some time after her death, most likely in the 15th century by English mystics of the Brigittine order. 

Simon Vostre (1486-1518) printed and published in Paris at the sign of St. John the Evangelist on the Rue Neuve Notre Dame, the “new street” leading to the great cathedral begun in 1164 by Maurice de Sully, bishop of Paris. The Rue Neuve served as the centre of the commercial book trade from its beginnings through to the appearance of print in the late 15th century.

For his printed Books of Hours, Vostre, together with Philip Pigouchet, designed a series of metal cuts to decorate the borders of the pages.  Among them were histories of the saints, biblical figures, even caricatures directed against Churchmen, after the manner of the old sculptors, who thought that sin was rendered more horrible in the garb of a monk. Nestled in the borders amongst acanthus leaves were fantastic animals, birds, “grotesques” (half men, half beasts), and saints piously praying.

Item No:  PSA 096

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