c 1515 Large Book of Hours Leaf - Garden of Gethsemane


Original leaf from an important printed Book of Hours – in an unusually large quarto sizeRuled Latin text with side panels in French. Printed in black on animal vellum. . Space was left for illumination of initials, but they were never executed! Dimensions of the leaf are 244 x 175 mm - 9.8 x 7", The fine metalcut measures 200 x 125mm - 8 x 5").

Printed by Thielman Kerver. Paris, c. 1515.

The dramatic full page illustration (verso) was designed by the Master Jean Pichore.  It depicts the Garden of Gethsemane  and opens ''The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ: according to John''.  Judas places a kiss on Christ’s cheek, while the soldiers bind Christ’s wrists and arrest him. The servant whom Simon Peter struck with his sword is seen holding his ear – Peter is seen behind him placing his sword in the scabbard.  

Noted for its DECORATIVE BORDERS - the paneled surround (recto) relates the Old Testament Story of Joseph and his brothers.  The text begins a prayer written by St. Augustine which begins with part of Luke 18:13: “ Deus propicius esto michi…” (O God be merciful to me, a sinner…).

In purpose & format, printed Books of Hours followed the older manuscript examples. The more luxurious were printed on vellum, as is this specimen.

Thielman Kerver (active 1497-1522) was one of the most famous early Parisian printers and type engravers. He worked [and probably lived] “in vico sancti Iacobi/ad signum Vnicornis/ & ibidem venales habent” (in saint Jacob's lane/in the sign of the Unicorn/where they are also for sale.).    

Shipped in an archival 14x11'' mat.   

  • Inventory# IM-8587