Book of Hours, c. 1512, Vostre, printed on vellum

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A superior Vostre edition printed on vellum


                            Metal cuts of dragons, rabbits, shepherd, the Cimmerian Sibyl,

                                                         fisherman drowned by devils.


Recto:  Text in Latin and French printed on quality vellum in a gothic bâtarde font.  Two two-line  and numerous one-line hand painted initials alternating in blue and red. Metal cuts include dragons and other fanciful beasts, rabbits, the Cimmerian Sibyl, a shepherd drinking from  a wineskin and scenes of a two devils tipping a fisherman from his boat to drown, and a sick woman on a litter seeking pardon. The text beneath these scenes is in French rhyming couplets.


Verso:  As Recto, with a number of hand painted initial and further metal cuts including a grotesque riding a monkey, a sword carrying soldier in armour, a sibyl and an angel.


Printer:   Simon Vostre, Paris


Date:  c. 1512


Content:  The red initial ‘O’ on Recto begins a prayer in Latin: Omnipotens sempiterne deus qui ex abundantia charitatis tue beatam mariam tuo filio impregnatam… 

(Almighty, everlasting God, who inspired the blessed Mary, fruitful with your son…)


Interestingly, on Verso, the illuminator has erred by painting the wrong letter beginning a hymn.  The blue ‘F’ should be an ‘M’ beginning the hymn: Morte dum vides ortum vite mori quis quantus dolor gladius pertransit animam tuam genitrix tu vite, o clemens mater


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


Size:  This is a larger leaf than Vostre’s usual editions: approx. 225x140 mm. Printed area : approx.  190x115 mm.  Please note that postage is invoiced separately.  Australia $20, overseas, ask for quote.


Notes:  This leaf is from the intriguing transitional period when Books of Hours began to be printed from movable type.  To mimic the appearance of manuscript works, the finer editions were printed on vellum rather than paper, decorated with metal-cut illustrations and had hand-painted coloured initials added to the printed page.

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:  PSA116

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