1488 Incunabula Leaf - Mer Des Histoires - 4 Woodcuts


A scarce original French incunabula - finely printed leaf with woodcut illustrations and decorative borders. Printed on watermarked laid paper in two columns of 50 lines on each side of the page.   (388 x 280mm – 15 ¼ x 11’’8’’)

Folio xxxiii from the first edition of  Mer des Histoires, published in Paris in 1488 by the early French printer Pierre Le Rouge. (Ref: Goff R-346) 

Mer des Histories was an original adaptation in the French language of a Latin text describing the history of France from its origins to the death of King Louis XIconsidered one of the most beautiful in the history of French printing. It was one of the earliest printed books illustrated with woodcuts, and was among the very first to use decorative border motifs in imitation of illuminated manuscripts. (Ref: D. McMurtrie, The Book

This is a premium leaf, boldly printed with Le Rouge’s distinctive woodcuts: There are  four full length border cuts with drolleries, and four 16-18 line woodcuts. Text and woodcuts on the recto relate to the reign of King Ahaz (Achaz) of Judea, referenced in II Chronicles, II Kings, and Isaiah , while those on the verso also pertain to the founding of Rome. 

A handsome example of a famous early printing in excellent condition with crisp typography on thick handmade paper. A contemporary reader added an ink “manicule” (pointing hand) to mark an important passage! 

Shipped unmatted

  • Inventory# IM-13141
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