Woodcut, Book of Hours, c. 1550. Nathan, King David.


The Prophet Nathan confronts King David


Recto:  Text in French - a quatrain - printed in red and black in a Gothic font on laid paper.  A woodcut of the Prophet Nathan and King David.  Nathan reprimands David for committing adultery with Bathsheba while she was the wife of Uriah, whose death the King had also arranged to hide his previous transgression.  Nathan exhorts David to acknowledge his sins. The banderole issuing from Nathan’s mouth reads: initium [est] salutis, notitia peccati - (the first step toward salvation is the recognition of sin.)  An angry David, his harp lying on the floor, appears to reject Nathan”s entreaties.


Verso:  Text in Latin printed in two sizes of a gothic font in red and black.


Printer:   Yolande Bonhomme, Paris.


Date:  c. 1550.


Content:  This leaf is from the Seven Penitential Psalms section of a Book of Hours. The text on Verso is the beginning of Psalm 37 (KJV 38): Domine ne in furore tuo arguas me neque in ira tua corripias me. Quoniam sagittae tuae infixae sunt mihi et tetigit me manus tua.  (Rebuke me not, O Lord, in thy indignation; nor chastise me in thy wrath.  For thy arrows are fastened in me: and thy hand hath been strong upon me.)


Condition:  The leaf is in very good condition, sharply printed and with just some light staining in the bottom corner from page turning.  It is unconditionally guaranteed genuine.


Size:  Size of leaf: approx. 160x105 mm.  Printed area: approx.  135x80 mm. Presented in a museum quality mat, ready for framing.  Please note that packing and postage is invoiced separately.  Within Australia: $22.50.  Overseas: ask for quote.


References:  Goff B-1087, GW 5055.


Notes:  The Seven Penitential Psalms or Psalms of Confession are the psalms 6, 31, 37, 50, 101, 129 & 142 (Vulgate numbering), or psalms 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130 & 143 (KJV numbering). Authorship is traditionally ascribed to King David who composed them to atone for his grievous sins which included adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband, Uriah. They have long been associated with penitential devotions and commended as defence against the seven deadly sins, each psalm being associated with one of them.   St. Augustine is said to have had them placed  before him to read while he was on his deathbed.

Yolande Bonhomme (ca. 1490–1557) was the daughter of Pasquier Bonhomme, a printer and one of four appointed booksellers of the University of Paris. She married Thielmann Kerver, a highly successful printer, and when he died in 1522 she assumed control of his printing shop at the “sign of the unicorn” on the Rue St. Jacques in Paris. Following her husband, Yolande specialized in illustrated Books of Hours and in 1526 she became the first woman to print an edition of the Bible. At the time of her death in 1557, the press was one of the most successful and respected in Paris, having produced more than 200 editions.

Banderoles (speech scrolls) in medieval religious works contain quotations relevant to the scene or the religious figure depicted – Old Testament prophets for example, were often shown with an appropriate quotation from their work. Because the words are religious in nature, the speech scroll is generally written in Latin even when appearing in woodcut illustrations for books written in the vernacular.  This practice also allowed the illustration to be used in editions in other languages.

Item No:  PSA103

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