Lot 26: Book of Hours.- Les Presentes Heures a l'usage de Paris, Paris, par la Veufue de feu Thielman Kerver, 19th June, 1525.

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November 15, 2016
London, United Kingdom

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Description: Books of Hours, use of Paris. Les presentes heures a lusage de Paris toutes au long sans rien requetir: nouuesseme[n]t imprimees au dict lieu / auec ques plusieurs belles hystoires, collation: A-R8, aa8, 144ff., Gothic type, text in Latin and French, printed in red and black, large printer's device (two unicorns holding a shield bearing the initials 'T K') on fols. A1r and R8r, 59 full-page metalcut decorative borders surrounding the pages, an excellent copy, with very good impressions of plates, some leaves lightly browned, short tear at the gutter of fol. A4, early 20th-century French olive morocco, covers within blind fillets and floral roll, spine with five raised bands, title and imprint lettered in gilt in second and third compartments, the others decorated with blind floral tool, red morocco doublures, elaborately gold tooled to a rich Grolier pattern and signed by the binder Hardy Mennil and the famous 'doreur' Marius Michel (1846-1925), marbled endpapers in comb pattern, board edges decorated with double gilt fillet, multi-coloured silk bookmark, gilt edges, 4to (218 x143mm.), [colophon on fol. R8v:] Paris / par la Veufue de feu Thielman keruer. Demeurante en la grant rue sainct Iacques / au dessus des Maturins / a lenseigne de la Licorne. M.d.xxv. [colophon on fol. aa8v:] achevé 19 June 1525. ⁂ A remarkable, profusely illustrated Parisian edition of the Book of Hours. The volume was issued on 19 June 1525 from the printing house established by the renowned publisher Thielman Kerver and led, after his death in 1522, by his widow Yolande Bonhomme, who became in turn one of the major Parisian publishers of Books of Hours. Between 1497 and 1522 Kerver, who originated from Coblentz in Germany, published in Paris 124 editions of the Hours for the use of Rome, volumes which are rightly praised for the quality of pictorial narrative, the repertoire of designs and the handsome layout, harmoniously integrating images with the text. The influence of Kerver's Horae can be traced in Italian and Flemish productions, the illustration of which derive directly from Kerver's sets of cuts. The 1525 edition contains the last set produced by Kerver's workshop for Books of Hours. The Parisian printer continuously modified the presentation and illustrations of the book, and it is possible to distinguish changes in style. This set enjoyed a long lifespan and was used by other 16th-century printers. Text: The edition includes all the standard textual elements of a Book of Hours. It opens with the almanach, for the years 1525-1538. The other sections are: Calendar, Gospels, passion according to John, Office of the Virgin, Seven Penitential Psalms, Litanies, Offices of the Dead, supplemented with short officies such as those of the Cross and of the Holy Spirit, Suffrages. The additional final quire contains the Commendationes defunctorum. Illustration: The present set, the last produced by Kerver's workshop, and characterized by thick black outlines and shading, was realised in 1519 after the designs of the famous artist Jean Pichore. The first edition which mentions the 'nouvelles hystoires' was printed by Kerver on 5 December 1519. The Calendar is introduced by the illustration of the Planetary Man, a plate which shows the effects of the planets on different parts of the human body, and appears only occasionally in the manuscript tradition. The months are illustrated not with the seasonal labours or zodiac, but with the cycle of the Ages of Man, from infancy to senility and death, and each image is accompanied by a quatrain in French. All principal sections of the Hours are introduced by a large metalcut: the scenes mainly illustrate the lives of the Virgin and Christ, often derived from the woodblocks used for the famous Biblia Pauperum, the Legenda aurea, the Speculum humanae salvationis, or cycles from the Apocalypse and Dance of Death. Another interesting feature is the elaborate border surrounding each page, showing the influence of both the Italian Renaissance and German printmaking. Several borders are on criblé ground and include pictorial narratives with verse captions explaining the images. The vertical parts of the borders depict biblical scenes, in which the Old Testament is used to aid understanding of the New Testament. The lower parts of the borders combine and re-combine several designs, showing classical elements and secular themes such as scenes of hunting or children playng games, amusing grotesques, putti, seasonal activities, animals and foliage ornaments, portraits of Prophets and Sibylles, and occasionally Kerver's monogram. Provenance: Giraud-Badin Paris, 3-4 May 1937 (Beaux livres anciens, rares et précieux, manuscrits et imprimés; riches reliures armoriées). Henry Burton, Lyon-Genève (ex-libris on recto of front flyleaf). Private collection. Literature: Bohatta 324; Lacombe 347-350; B. Hibbard Beech, "Yolande Bonhomme: A Renaissance Printer", Medieval Prosopography 6 (1985), pp. 79-100; K. Lee Bowen, Christopher Plantin's Books of Hours: Illustration and Production, Nieuwkoop 1997, pp. 37-41; N. Barker, "The Printed Book of Hours", The Book Collector, 53 (2004), pp. 335-352; C. Zöhl, Jean Pichore: Buchmaler, Graphiker und Verleger in Paris um 1500, Turnhout, Brepols, 2004; M. B. Winn - D. Sheerin, "Mixing Manuscript and Print: Franciscan Offices, Venetian Borders, and Kerver's 1510 Hours in Newberry Library Wing MS ZW 5351.1", La Bibliofilia 114 (2012), pp. 161-205.
Notes: Category: Western And Medieval Manuscripts
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