Paris: Simon du Bois for Geoffrey Tory, 1527. Octavo. 140ff. With twelve woodcut illustrations from thirteen blocks, Tory's "pot cassé" device on title page and colophon, and each page with a four-piece border in twenty-six distinct combinations. The lower blocks of several borders feature coats of arms, including those of the king, François I; his mother, Louise of Savoy; Henri d'Albret, the King of Navarre; and d'Albret's queen, the sister of François. Text in lettre bâtarde, printed in red and black. With Almanac for 1528-1548. Bound in eighteenth-century crimson morocco with triple gilt rules on both panels, gilt turn-ins, flat spine gilt in four compartments, with two green morocco lettering pieces. Few light stains to both panels, some light rubbing to corners and outer hinges. A.e.g. Housed in a modern morocco-backed folding case. With the monogram stamp of noted Prussian collector Karl Ferdinand Friedrich von Nagler on bottom title-page margin. Leather booklabel of Paul Harth on front pastedown.
This Book of Hours by Tory is significant on a number of levels, foremost in that it represents his first use of a set of borders, known as "moderne." These differ completely from those used in Tory's Roman Book of Hours, printed two years earlier by Simon de Colines. These borders, which feature detached flora and fauna mainly in outline, complement the outlined woodcuts, which offer another unusual feature of the edition. The format has led to the suggestion that they were intended to be filled in by an illuminator. Of the woodcuts themselves, Tory's use of a two-page spread to depict the Annunciation, which achieves the effect of the angel facing Mary from the opposite page, is an unusual and noteworthy treatment. Much has been written about the king in the Adoration of the Magi and the crow and horse in the Triumph of Death, each figure appearing fully inked rather than in outline: Mortimer notes that "(t)his particular technique represents a departure from the line-for-line transfer of a preliminary drawing into an exploration of the creative possibilities of the woodblock itself." Ultimately, the importance of Tory's French Book of Hours is that it exemplifies a more innovative approach to the incorporation of Italian Renaissance printing techniques in France.
Small stain on title and colophon leaves, repaired fore-edge tear to three leaves, otherwise bright and crisp, with strong impressions. Item #18327
(Bohatta 330; Brun 232; Fairfax Murray 279; Lacombe 364; Mortimer 304).