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les Enluminures

Book of Hours (Use of Rome)

In Latin and French, imprint on parchment
France (Paris), Anthoine Verard, August 22, 1506. 17 large wood- and metalcuts, 2 smaller (Grail and anatomical man) metalcuts, 28 small wood- and metalcuts within the text (some repeated), and wood- and metalcut borders by the Master of the Très Petites Heures of Anne de Bretagne

TM 1080

i (paper) + ii (parchment) + 126 + ii (parchment) + i (paper) folios on parchment, modern foliation in pencil top outer corner recto, complete (collation a8 [signed a aii] b10 [signed b] [a]8 [no signature] b-i8 [first leaf of each quire only signed, except f fii] k4 [signed k] A-D8 [first leaf of each quire only signed A-D]), red ink ruling added by hand throughout (justification, text and border 150 x 87 mm., text only 105 x 60 mm.), up to 22 lines of gothic type (bastarda), one- to two-line gold initials on alternately brick red and blue grounds added by hand throughout, twenty-eight small wood- and metalcuts within the text (some repeats), f. 1, Grail above nine lines of text, f. 2, anatomical man with four smaller images, SEVENTEEN LARGE WOOD- AND METALCUTS about two lines of text, figurative wood- and metalcut borders in the calendar and on every text page, good condition, painted initials rubbed on ff. 2v, 86v and 103v, f. 1 stained and occasional minor stains thereafter, some cockling, a few leaves creased.  Bound in a nineteenth-century brown leather binding by Chambolle-Duru, interior gilt dentelles and marbled end papers, spine with five raised bands and title in gold, “Livre/ D’Heures,” gilt edges, in excellent condition.  Dimensions 180 x 108 mm.             

Extremely rare imprint, known only in this copy, of an unrecorded Book of Hours printed for the famed Parisian bookseller and publisher, Anthoine Verard.  Verard was known for his luxurious illuminated printed volumes, produced for illustrious patrons including Kings Charles VIII and Louis XII of France, and King Henry VII of England.  This copy is uncolored, allowing the details of the illustrations to be observed.


1. Printed in Paris for Anthoine Verard (active 1485-1512) on August 22, 1506; dated on the last leaf, f. 126, “Ces presentes heures a lusage/ de Rome furent acheuees le xxii./ iour Daoust Mil cinq cens et six/ pour Anthoine Verard libraire.” This imprint is not recorded in published sources or online (Lacombe, 1907, van Praet, 1824, Macfarlane, 1900, Moreau, 1972- . and so forth), and to our knowledge this is the unique surviving copy.  Another edition by Verard is also dated August 22, 1506, but is use of Paris, and includes 132/4 leaves (Lacombe, 1907, no. 154; Macfarlane, 1900, no. 235).

2. Short note, dated 1585, recording a baptism and other family events, added in a very small cursive script on f. 12.

3. Belonged to E. Délicourt in the second half of the nineteenth century (inside front cover, his etched bookplate, signed in the plate by Maurice Leloir (1843-1884).

4. Belonged to Richard de Loménie (his armorial bookplate inside front cover, with his name and motto, “Je matiendrais”) in the twentieth century (a Book of Hours for the use of Langres sold at Christie’s July, 7, 2010, lot 36, included an inserted note likely in his hand stating that it was purchased in November 1941); round label stamped “62” in the corner.

5. Pencil notes in French describing the book and its collation, front paper flyleaf, f. i verso, and facing parchment flyleaf, f. i.


f. 1, Prayer, incipit, “Benedictio dei patris cum angelis …”;

f. 1v, Almanac for 1503-1520;

f. 2, Anatomical Man;

ff. 2v-8, Calendar in Latin, one month per page, with verses on the months in French;

ff. 8v-12, Gospel pericopes, John; f. 10, Luke, f. 10v, Matthew; f. 11v, Mark;

ff. 12v-18, Passion according to John;

ff. 18v-49v, Hours of the Virgin, use of Rome, Hore intemerate virginis Marie secundum usum Romanum; f. 29, Lauds; f. 36, Prime; f. 38v, Terce; f. 40v, Sext; f. 42v, None; f. 45v, Vespers; f. 48, Compline;

ff. 49v-57, Canticle of Simeon (Nunc dimittis), prayers, and Changed Office;

ff. 57v-68v, Penitential Psalms, Litany, and Prayers;

ff. 69-89v, Office of the Dead, use of Rome (with the response to the ninth lesson, “Libera me domine de viis …”);

ff. 90-92, Hours of the Cross;

ff. 92v-94v, Hours of the Holy Spirit;

ff. 95-113, Suffrages of the Trinity, God the Father, Christ, Holy Spirit, De facie domini, Michael, John the Baptist, John the Evangelist, Peter and Paul, Stephen, Lawrence, Christopher, Sebastian, Nicholas, Claudius, Anthony, Anne, Mary Magdalene, Katherine, Margaret, Barbara, and Apollonia;

ff. 113-126, Prayers in Latin and French, including an indulgenced prayer of St. Gregory (rubric, f. 116v).

This appears to be the sole example of an unrecorded edition; we have not been able to identify this edition in any printed or online source.  The edition listed in Lacombe and Macfarlane on the same date (Lacombe, 1927, no. 154; van Praet, 1824, vol. I, no. 245; Macfarlane, 1900, no. 235), is Use of Paris, and has 132/4 instead of 126 folios.


Seventeen large wood- and metalcuts, framed on all sides:

f. 9v, St. John the Evangelist being boiled in oil;

f. 12v, Arrest of Christ (note fissure at the top where the block cracked);

f. 18v, Tree of Jesse;

f. 19, Annunciation;

f. 29, Visitation;

f. 36, Nativity, a replacement block, in a different style;

f. 38v, Annunciation to the Shepherds;

f. 40v, Adoration of the Magi;

f. 42v, Presentation;

f. 44v, Flight into Egypt;

f. 48, Death of the Virgin (note crack in the block);

f. 57v, Bathesheba bathing with David looking on;

f. 69, Dives and Lazarus at the banquet;

f. 90, Crucifixion;

f. 92v, Pentecost;

f. 95, Trinity above, with the assembled Church, spiritual and temporal below;

f. 117v, Mass of St. Gregory;

Two smaller woodcuts:

f. 1, Grail, flanked by four angels (Renaissance columns as a border);

f. 2, Anatomical man.

28 small rectangular miniatures, 5- to 7-lines high, set within the text (some repeats, and many are also used in borders):

f. 9v, Luke;

f. 10, Matthew;

f. 10v, Mark;

f. 95v, God the Father;

f. 96, Risen Christ with an Angel;

f. 96v, Pentecost;

f. 97, Veronica and the Veil;

f. 98, Pietà;

f. 102v, Pietà;

f. 103v, Michael;

f. 104, John the Baptist;

f. 104v, John the Evangelist;

f. 105, Peter and Paul;

f. 105, James;

f. 106, Stephen;

f. 106, Lawrence;

f. 106v, Christopher;

f. 107v, Sebastian;

f. 108v, Nicholas;

f. 109, Claudius;

f. 109v, Anthony;

f. 110v, Anne teaching the Virgin to read;

f. 110v, Mary Magdalene;

f. 111, Katherine;

f. 111v, Margaret;

f. 112, Barbara;

f. 112v, Apollonia;

f. 120, Pietà.

Each text page and the calendar include figurative borders, many of which belong to long typological series, pairing Old Testament scenes with scenes from the New Testament, all accompanied by short captions, often interspersed by borders depicting scenes of courtly life and classical motifs.  The Office of the Dead is illustrated by an extensive Dance of Death series.

The illustrations here are based on designs by the Master of the Très Petites Heures of Anne of Brittany made for Verard (and based on series made for Vostre).  Most of the large illustrations here are woodcuts (the exceptions are the Grail, the Anatomical Man, the Tree of Jesse, and the Trinity which are metalcuts). The smaller illustrations and the borders are a mixture of wood- and metalcuts.  Verard’s preference for woodcuts even into the sixteenth century sets him apart from other Parisian publishers and printers. The cut used for the Nativity is by a different artist (presumably a replacement for a damaged block in Verard’s series).  Many of surviving copies of Verard’s printed Books of Hours were painted by contemporary illuminators.  In this uncolored copy, the details of all the woodcuts are unobscured.  

The Master of the Très Petites Heures of Anne of Brittany (who is known by many other names in the literature, including the Master of the Apocalypse Rose of the Sainte-Chapelle, the Master of the Hunt of the Unicorn, and the Master of the Life of Saint John the Baptist) may have been the eldest son of the Master of Coëtivy, a certain Jean d’Ypres, registered in Paris as a maître-juré (Avril and Reynaud, 1993, no. 147, pp. 268-270; Nettekoven, 2004). This artist worked in numerous media, including painted altarpieces, stained glass windows, designs for tapestries, illuminated manuscripts (his eponymous Book of Hours is Paris, BnF, MS NAL 1320 of 1498), and played a particularly important role in the production of printed Books of Hours, designing illustrations used for wood- and metalcuts. Typically, his figures are rather stocky and carefully framed within complex Gothic architectural elements. 

Antonine Verard (fl. 1485-1512), a Parisian “libraire” (a word that can be translated as bookseller, but in this context denotes a much broader role, including that of publisher, editor, and author), was probably active in producing illuminated manuscripts before he embraced the new technology of printing. He was one of the preeminent earlier publishers of deluxe printed editions on vellum in Paris, specializing in Books of Hours and richly decorated texts for the court and nobility. He worked with as many as 26 different printers, supplying them with his own collections of type, blocks, and borders, mostly in Paris, and numerous painters and illuminators.  Among his clients and patrons were the kings of France, Charles VIII (his most important patron) and Louis XII, and King Henry VII of England. His last edition was dated July 24, 1512, and he likely died soon after c. 1514. His widow and his son, Bartholomew, continued to publish editions in his name until 1525. 

Printed Books of Hours were a particularly important part of Verard’s oeuvre, constituting almost one quarter of his overall production. Altogether, he published as many as eighty editions of printed Books of Hours; his earliest edition from 1485 has been claimed as the first illustrated example of this important genre.


Avril, F. and N. Reynaud. Les manuscrits à peintures en France, 1440-1520, Paris, 1993, pp. 268-270.

Bohatta, Hanns. Bibliographie der Livres d’Heures: Horae BMV, Officia, Hortuli Animae, Coronae BMV, Rosaria und Cursus BMV des XV und XVI Jahrhunderts, Vienna, 1924.

Bonicoli, Louis-Gabriel. “La production du libraire-éditeur parisien Antoine Vérard (1485-1512): nature, fonctions et circulation des images dans les premiers livres imprimés illustrés,” PhD Disseration, Paris 10, École doctorale Milieux, cultures et sociétés du passé et du présent (Nanterre), unpublished, 2015.

Brunet, Charles Jacques. “Notice sur les Heures Gothiques Imprimées à Paris à la fin du quinzième siècle et dans une partie du seizième,” Manuel du libraire et de l’amateur de livre, Paris 1864.

Lacombe, P. Livres d’heures imprimés au XVe et XVIe siècle conservés dans les bibliothèques publiques de Paris, Paris, 1907.

Macfarlane, John. Antoine Vérard, London, 1900; rpt. Geneva, 1971.

Moreau, Brigitte. Inventaire chronologique des éditions parisiennes du XVIe siècle, Paris 1972- .

Nettekoven, Ina. Der Meister des Apokalypsenrose der Sainte Chapelle und die Pariser Buchkunst um 1500, Turnhout, 2004.

Nettekoven, Ina, Heribert Tenschert und Caroline Zöhl. 365 gedruckte Stundenbücher aus der Sammlung Bibermühle. 1487-1586, Antiquariat Heribert Tenschert, 2015.

Tenschert, Heribert, and Ina Nettekoven, Horae B.M.V.: 158 Sundenbuchdrucke der Sammlung Bibermühle, Rotthalmünster, Antiquariat Heribert Tenschert, 2003.

Van Praet, J.  Catalogue de livres imprimés sur vélin, qui se trouvent dans des bibliothèques tant publiques que particulières, pour servir de suite au Catalogue des livres imprimés sur vélin de la Bibliothèque du roi, Paris, 1824.

Winn, Mary Beth. Anthoine Vérard: Parisian Publisher 1485-1512, Geneva, 1997

Online Resources

Universal Short Title Catalogue

BnF, Base des éditions parisiennes du 16ème siècle, BP16

Anthoine Verard (in progress)

Louis-Gabriel Bonicoli and Irène Fabry-Tehranchi, “Antoine Vérard’s early printed books in the British Library,” July 16, 2018

TM 1080