Item #3209 [Incipit:] A la louenge de dieu ... furent commencees ces presentes heures pour Anthoine verard libraire. use of Rome HORAE B. M. V., in French and Latin.
[Incipit:] A la louenge de dieu ... furent commencees ces presentes heures pour Anthoine verard libraire...
[Incipit:] A la louenge de dieu ... furent commencees ces presentes heures pour Anthoine verard libraire...
[Incipit:] A la louenge de dieu ... furent commencees ces presentes heures pour Anthoine verard libraire...
[Incipit:] A la louenge de dieu ... furent commencees ces presentes heures pour Anthoine verard libraire...
[Incipit:] A la louenge de dieu ... furent commencees ces presentes heures pour Anthoine verard libraire...
[Incipit:] A la louenge de dieu ... furent commencees ces presentes heures pour Anthoine verard libraire...
[Incipit:] A la louenge de dieu ... furent commencees ces presentes heures pour Anthoine verard libraire...
[Incipit:] A la louenge de dieu ... furent commencees ces presentes heures pour Anthoine verard libraire...
[Incipit:] A la louenge de dieu ... furent commencees ces presentes heures pour Anthoine verard libraire...
[Incipit:] A la louenge de dieu ... furent commencees ces presentes heures pour Anthoine verard libraire...
[Incipit:] A la louenge de dieu ... furent commencees ces presentes heures pour Anthoine verard libraire...
“Un très beau livre d’heures” — Claudin

[Incipit:] A la louenge de dieu ... furent commencees ces presentes heures pour Anthoine verard libraire... Paris: [Étienne Jehannot for] Antoine Vérard, 10 August 1498.

Printed on vellum. 4to (215 x 147 mm). Collation: a-h8 i4 k6 (k1 missigned i3). 74 leaves, unfoliated. Complete. Jehannot’s batarde types in three sizes (see GW). 33 lines, 2 columns text, plus letterpress captions in borders. Vérard’s woodcut device on first page, (Renouard 1088), seventeen woodcut illustrations: three half-page cuts (astronomical man, Holy Grail, and Trinity) and fourteen large woodcuts, of which twelve after the Master of the Apocalypse Rose; 30 small cuts in text, of evangelists and saints; multi-part page historiated and ornamental page borders throughout, the outer and lower borders containing dozens of small woodcuts and metalcuts, with letterpress captions, the inner and upper borders are narrow white on black metalcut strips. Rubricated, initials and space-fillers painted in gold on magenta and blue grounds, faint red-ruling to text.
Condition: old deletion at top of first page causing slight loss to metalcut borderpieces, marginal staining to first 3 leaves, slight surface rubbing to b2r, early stitch-repair in margin of fol. h3, small tear in lower inner margin of f. d3 (vellum flaw), tiny hole within text block of last leaf & one or two small marginal holes..
Binding: late 19th-century retrospective blind-tooled calf (slight scuffing to edges, front flyleaves loosening).
Provenance: “Negrier de la Crochardiere,” 18th- or early 19th-century signature in ink at foot of fol. c2v, probably René Négrier de la Crochardière (1749-1817), magistrate and mayor of Le Mans, Normandie; 19th-century inscription on title noting the date of the edition; James Wilson Rimington-Wilson (1822-1877), chess book collector, ?his inscription and “Broomhead Hall” on front flyleaf (his sale, Sotheby’s, 27 Feb. 1928).***

A beautiful fifteenth-century printed Book of Hours on vellum, published by the dominant Parisian publisher of the late 15th-century, Antoine Vérard. Illustrated with seventeen large woodcuts commissioned by Vérard and historiated page borders throughout, this edition typifies Paris Horae production at its height. This fine, tall copy, is one of only four recorded.

The Book of Hours, or Horae, or Hours of the Blessed Virgin Mary, was a liturgical book for home use. Its focus was Marian devotion and its audience primarily women. Imitating illuminated manuscripts, most fifteenth-century printed books of hours were sumptuously produced, being largely printed on vellum, although the scale of production was quasi-industrial. Antoine Vérard was the printer who most “helped to establish the template for printed books of hours. Vérard specialized in vernacular books and illustrated books. But he also published over eighty editions of books of hours between 1488 and 1512, some of them rivaling manuscripts in the quality of materials and workmanship.... Distinctive to Vérard’s books was the clever use of illustration, and Latin and French prologues Vérard himself wrote. Vérard effectively used French verse commentary to clarify the book’s Latin text” (Reinburg, p. 31).

Vérard was widely imitated, and Paris became the most important European center to produce these books, at least one of which graced every household of means. By the 1490s, Paris printers had mastered the complex composition and printing of multiple editions of texts integrated with hundreds of separate metalcuts. These intricate books testify to the sophistication and large production scale of what had become, within little more than a decade, a highly successful specialized branch of the book trade. They were the best-sellers of the late 15th- and early 16th-century, and hundreds of editions were produced. Most, however, now survive in mere handfuls of copies; often no more than one or two copies or fragments remain. From this extreme scarcity of surviving copies, it is clear that many editions must have disappeared altogether.

The printing of this edition for Vérard was incorrectly attributed to Jean Poitevin by Bohatta, Fairfax-Murray, etc., although Claudin correctly assigned it to Etienne Jehannot; on typographical grounds it is now definitively assigned to Jehannot. Etienne Jehannot was active from at least 1494 to after 1500, working mainly behind the scenes as an unnamed printer for others. He was closely associated with Pierre le Dru, some of whose types he adopted. As an indication of the importance of Horae printing in the Parisian publishing world during the last two decades of the fifteenth century, of the 167 entries in the Incunable Short-Title Catalogue for editions printed by Jehannot, fifty are books of hours. This is one of four editions (or five or six, two having uncertain attributions) that Jehannot printed for Antoine Vérard, all between 1497 and 1498.

Like nearly all the printed books of hours from the heyday of Paris Horae production, these Jehannot / Vérard editions are exceedingly rare. Only three other copies of this edition are recorded. One is held by the Bodleian Library, and one by the Kantonsbibliothek Appenzell Ausserrhoden in Trogen, Switzerland. A third, the ex-Fairfax Murray copy, apparently remains in private hands: it was part of the collection of Elaine and Alexandre Rosenberg, dispersed at auction by Christie’s in 2021. The present copy is well over an inch taller than the Fairfax Murray-Rosenberg copy, which had been trimmed by the binder.

Illustrations:
The beautiful large illustrations of this edition have an interesting origin: twelve of the fourteen large illustrations are woodcuts which were commissioned by Vérard as exact copies of a deservedly popular series of outstanding metalcuts, originally cut for the Horae publisher Simon Vostre in 1494 and 1495 by an artist known as the Master of the Apocalypse Rose. The Vérard copies are astonishingly close copies of the metalcuts (as shown by close comparison to the illustrations in the monumental catalogue of Heribert Tenschert’s “Bibermühle” collection). “Vérard’s plates [i.e., blocks] were used by the printers Jean Poitevin and Etienne Jehannot from 1498, whereas Vostre’s metalcut series was used almost exclusively in books printed by Philippe Pigouchet” (Tenschert I, p. 123, transl.). Along with these 12 woodcuts (from Tenschert series 15) are two slightly smaller cuts, of the Circumcision and the Coronation of the Virgin, from an earlier Vérard series (Tenschert series 2), each with the hour (None and Compline) cut xylographically into the block. These were first used ca. 1488, in Vérard’s so-called Grandes Heures. The woodcuts and metalcuts of the historiated borders show scenes from the life of Christ, interspersed with the Sibyls and the Evangelists.

Contents, with major illustrations:
a1r incipit, metalcut publisher’s device
a1v Almanac (table of moveable feasts) for 1488-1508
a2r Zodiac and bloodletting precepts: archaic anatomical man woodcut with xylographic astrological captions (in French), continued in letterpress at foot
a2v Benediction, Holy Grail woodcut
a3r-a8v Paris calendar, each month with two quatrains at foot: mnemonic “Cisiojanus” verses in French (cf. Soleil, Heures gothiques, pp. 155-157) and Latin hexameters providing health precepts for each month
b1r-b2v Gospel Lessons: woodcut (b1r) of Martyrdom of St. John the Evangelist, three small metalcuts of Luke, Matthew, and Mark in text
b3r-b6r Passion according to St. John: b3r Betrayal woodcut
b6v-e5r Hours of the Virgin (in Latin):
- b6v Matins: Annunciation
- c4v Laudes: Visitation
- c7r Matins (Hours of the Cross): Crucifixion
- c8r Matins (Hours of the Holy Ghost): Pentecost
- d1r Prime: Nativity
- d2v Terce: Annunciation to the Shepherds
- d4r Sext: Adoration of the Magi
- d5v None: Circumcision
- d7r Vespers: Flight into Egypt
- e1r, Compline: Coronation of the Virgin
e5v-f2r Penitential psalms and litany: e5v, David and Bathsheba
f2v-g2v Office of the Dead: f2v, rich Dives and poor Lazarus (or the Banquet of the Rich)
g3r-k6v Suffrages and other prayers in Latin and French: g3r half-page cut of the Trinity, and 27 small woodcuts and metalcuts of saints, the Virgin and Christ (including 2 repeats).
k6v colophon.

References: ISTC ih00393900; Bod-inc H-168 (providing full text contents); GW 13312; Bohatta, Bibliographie der livres d’heures (1924), 647 (ISTC says = 665 but that is incorrect); Claudin, Histoire de l’imprimerie en France au XVe et au XVIe siècle (1900-1914), II, 249; Macfarlane, Antoine Vérard (1910), 219; Davies, Catalogue of a Collection of Early French Books in the Library of C. Fairfax Murray, no. 263. On Jehannot, cf. BMC VIII, p. xxxix. On the illustrations, cf. Tenschert, ed., Horae B.M.V.: 365 gedruckte Stundenbücher aus der Sammlung Bibermühle, 9 vols. (2003-2014): vol. I, pp. 122-124, vol. IX, pp. 3906-3909 and 3964-3969. Cf. V. Reinburg, French Books of Hours: Making an Archive of Prayer, c. 1400-1600 (2014); F. Soleil, Les heures gothiques et la littérature pieuse aux 15e et 16e siècles (Geneva, 1965, reprint of 1882 edition).

Item #3209

Price: $50,000.00