Hore dive V[ir]g[in]is Marie s[e]c[un]d[u]m veru[m] usum Romanu[m].
Book of Hours, for the use of Rome.
Printed on vellum. 125 leaves [ of 136], uncut.
Printed and published in Paris by: Thielman Kerver, 24 July 1511.
Printed in black and red; the initals were decorated by hand in red, blue and gold.
All text leaves are printed with border decorations in metal cuts, 17 of which have
the prints of the “Danses macabres”* [ K iiii and following] . Especially in Paris books
these were often used. [The famous Paris cemetery “La cimetiere des Saints-Innocents” is often named in the history of the city – it was the burial place for children and stirred strongly the imagination of the Parisians!]
Here is what the Cornell Library has to say about the Danses:
Danse Macabre, Dance of Death, Todtentanz
A grim saraband of skeletons, coming to take you away. Momento mori: remember that you must die. The middle ages preached this lesson
with particular intensity. Graphic artists-- Hans Holbein most influentially-- responded to the urgency, to the undeniable power of this
topos with scenes in which a dancing, skeletal Reaper came for the archbishop and the servant, the judge and the doctor, the mother and the child.
In the nineteenth century the motif is re-energized by revolution and social upheaval, and heralds the arrival of a social fantastic with
Alfred Rethel’s great series, Auch ein Todtentanz. Cornell’s extensive collection includes rare works that have never been reproduced in the
literature devoted to the subject. Freund’s Heins Erscheinungen (in Holbein’s Manier) and Merkel and Flegel’s Bilder des Todes join
Thomas Rowlandsonís satirical classic English Dance of Death, for especially remarkable depictions of suicide. The collection also
contains early, important studies, like Peignot’s Recherches sur les danses des morts (1826), which links the theme to the iconography of
playing cards; Achille Jubinal’s Explication de la danse des morts de la Chaise-Dieu (1841) a hand-colored example of early art-historical
interest in ecclesiastical danse macabre frescoes; and E.-H. Langlois’s definitive Essai sur la danse des morts (1852).
Other leaves have decorations in the margins based on scenes from the Old and the New Testament, sometimes on one leaf.
The upper scene is often from the Old and the lower one from the New Testament.
Decorations on other leaves are from the Creation [ C v and following], Renaissance designs,, droleries and in the first place
depictions of daily medieval life, often very expressive and comical.
There are 16 full page miniatures, among which the famous picture of the Anatomical Man, on the verso of the printer’s
device [ a i ]. An almanac for 25 years and a calendar.
The text : gospel readings ending with the Tree of Jesse, illustrating the descent of Christ from king David.
Then we find the Hours of the Virgin Mary, the daily prayers of the lay man in the Middle Ages.
The last part are the suffrages, invocations and prayers to beseech the intercession of the saints.
The book ends with the name of the publisher and the the exact date of the completion of rhe book:
Imp[re]ssum parisi p[ar] Thielmanu[m] keruer. Anno d[omi]ni M.ccccc.xi. Die xxiiii.Iulii.
[Printed in Paris by Thielmann Kerver. In the year of the Lord, 1511, on the 24th day of July.]
The red velvet binding is from the 18th century. Gold gauffered edges.
The leaves are in excellent condition without wrinkling or rubbing.