Hore intemerate dei genitricis virginis Marie secundum usum Romane ecclesie.

Paris, Thielman Kerver, 6 November 1508.

8vo (172 x 117 mm), ff. [152]; printed in red and black on vellum, text within engraved historiated and ornamental borders, many with criblé backgrounds, illustrated with 2 circular diagrams featuring St Peter and St James, 19 large cuts (one repeated), and 35 smaller cuts of the Passion, Evangelists and saints, large printer’s device at end; initials painted in gold on blue and red grounds, line fillers in gold, blue and red, text ruled in red; slight cockling to quire K, upper margin and fore-edge trimmed close with slight loss to border on a few leaves, occasional rubbing to initials; overall very good in modern red morocco gilt-tooled in Renaissance style by Miquel Rius of Barcelona (ink stamp 1948), gilt edges, red silk endpapers, preserved in quarter morocco and cloth slipcase; book labels of Andrés Roure Gili and Alexandre P. Rosenberg to front free endpaper; passages of text crossed through in ink on 14 pp. by an early censor.


US $19983€18921

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A beautiful Book of Hours of Roman use, unrecorded in any bibliographies, printed at Paris by Thielman Kerver for the Spanish market, with a Spanish prayer at the end which has in this copy been crossed through, along with other passages, by an early censor.

The extraordinarily rich decorative programme here employed includes nineteen near full-page engravings, depicting the kiss of Judas, Christ and the instruments of the Passion (repeated), the martyrdom of St John, the tree of Jesse, the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Nativity, the shepherds, the Magi, the Presentation, the Flight into Egypt, the Coronation of the Virgin, the Holy Trinity, the resurrection of Lazarus, the anointing of David, Pentecost, the Crucifixion, and the attributes of the Virgin. The calendar is illustrated with the signs of the zodiac and occupations of the months, and the borders comprise a remarkable array of profane and sacred scenes: musicians, mermaids, harvesting, hunting, jesters, grotesques, sea creatures and animals, and the dance of death; stories from the Old and New Testament including typological scenes, the Creation, the Apocalypse, and scenes from the life of Christ and various saints.

Most of the larger cuts are from Kerver’s ‘larger set’ characterised by ‘greater freedom from convention in the treatment of the designs, there being an appearance of relief or modelling in comparison with the older cuts: cross-hatching and other forms of shading are introduced’ (Davies).

A prayer in Spanish appears on t3v-t4r, purportedly sent by Pope Leo III to Charlemagne and titled ‘A qui comienca la oraiso[n] de sant leo[n] papa la qual a[n]bio a rey Carlo Magno’. Joseph Baer’s Catalogus DCLXXV (1921) includes an imperfect copy of this Book of Hours (no. 563) remarking that it was ‘probably printed for a town in the north of Spain since it contains on page t3v a prayer in the Spanish language to Charlemagne who was venerated in several towns of northern Spain’. In our copy this prayer has been thoroughly crossed through in ink, likely by a Dominican censor. The same censor has scored through a few other passages in the text, including rubrics promising indulgences for prayers in honour of Christ’s wounds (f5r-v) and to St Gregory (s7r), the rubric to the office of St Barbara (r5r), and verses on the Immaculate Conception (t5v).

Not in Bohatta, Brunet, Lacombe or Moreau. See Davies, Catalogue of early French books in the library of C. Fairfax Murray 267.

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