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Christian Works : [Horae: ad usum Romanum (Rome): (French and Latin)]

Christian Works

<p style='text-align: justify;'>This Book of Hours, printed on vellum, containing as its main texts the Offices of the Virgin Mary and of the Dead, is illustrated by 28 full-page wood or metal cuts, all of which have been illuminated. It is one of only two extant copies of this edition: the other, also on vellum and illuminated, is in the Bibliothèque nationale de France. The Cambridge copy ends with an illuminated manuscript supplement with the text of the Passion according to St John headed by a miniature of the Mocking of Christ, and at the end a painted image of a <i>memento mori</i> skull and a penitential text. It is one of the most beautifully illuminated printed books surviving in Cambridge.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The printer, Pierre Le Rouge ‘libraire du roy’, was working in Paris from about 1485 and died in 1493. The period of his time there coincides with the rise of the luxury printed Book of Hours illustrated by many wood or metal cuts, often illuminated, and clearly an attempt by printers to compete with the market of illuminated Books of Hours, still predominant in the 1480s. The first illustrated Book of Hours printed in Paris by Anthoine Vérard had appeared in 1486, but with woodcuts of rather poor quality. In 1488 and 1489 Jean du Pré produced two much finer illustrated Hours, some of whose woodcuts were used in Pierre Le Rouge’s 1491 Hours. Vérard’s Hours of 1490 contained better quality wood or metal cuts, but still not as good as those used by Jean du Pré and Pierre Le Rouge, who seem to have collaborated with the same artists who designed a series of images of the life of Christ and the Virgin Mary, the Fall of the Rebel Angels, the Parable of Dives and Lazarus, and the Three Living and the Three Dead. Jean du Pré used an almost identical set in his 1495 Hours of the use of Besançon.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The artist who created the original set of images in the late 1480s is known as the Master of the Apocalypse Rose, because he made cartoons for the rose window of the Apocalypse in the Sainte Chapelle in Paris. In addition, Pierre Le Rouge in his 1491 Hours introduces images by a different artist of the sibyls set between prophets and apostles, which face the biblical images. An inscription of ownership records that in 1565 this Hours belonged to Jeanne Pettre living at Nancy.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Professor Nigel Morgan</p>

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