HORAE, use of Rome (Latin and French)--Hore intemerate Virginis Mariae secundum Usum Romanum. [Paris:] Thielman Kerver for Gilles Remacle, 5 January 1500 .
PRINTED ON VELLUM. Median 8o (168 x 112 mm). Collation: a-p8 (a1r title with printer's device; a1v almanac in French for 1497-1520; a2r planetary influence on the body, anatomical man metalcut; a2v-a8r calendar; a8v-b4r Gospel sequences; b4v-c2r Passion according to St. John; c2v-g8v Hours of the Virgin; h1r-i4r Seven Penitential Psalms and Litany; i4v-l6v Office of the Dead; l7r-m1r Short Office of the Cross; m1v-m3v Short Office of the Holy Spirit; m4r-o5r Suffrages of the Saints including O Intemerata; o5v-p1v prayers for various occasions with rubrics in French; p2r-p8v prayers instituted by St. Gregory for indulgences, in Latin and French). 120 leaves. 22 lines. Types: Haebler 14:95B (text), Haebler 11:108G (almanac heading), Haebler 16:52G (almanac and border inscriptions). Printer's unicorn device (Renouard 499), 17 large and 27 small metalcut illustrations (2 repeated), metalcut historiated and decorative borders on every page, including a Creation series, a Biblia Pauperum series, orders of the Church, Last Judgement, grotesques, etc. One- and two-line initial spaces, spaces for initials within the line. Initials, paragraph marks and line fillers illuminated in gold on alternating red and blue grounds. (Unobtrusive marginal repair to d4 touching border.) Eighteenth-century French mottled calf, narrow gilt floral roll and fillet panel on sides, single gilt fleuron on compartments of spine, edges stained green.
Provenance: F.C.M. (19th or 20th-century inscription on front free endpaper -- Alice Millard (1933 collation note) -- Estelle Doheny (bookplate, sale Christie's New York, Part I, 27 October 1987, lot 129).
"A rare homogenous edition in Kerver's Horae production, most other editions showing a greater admixture of cuts from different sets" (Doheny catalogue). With the exception of the anatomical man cut, the large metalcuts, imitations of Pigouchet's second series of Horae illustrations (see lots 165 and 166), were introduced in 1498 and completed in 1499. Although Davies (Fairfax Murray French I, p. 305) calls them Kerver's "small set," they were in fact larger than the series that he used earlier, though smaller than his later set 3. (For a detailed analysis of the illustrations, see Doheny I, 129).
Thielman Kerver, a native of Coblenz, was the last in a line of printers to take over the firm originally founded by Ulrich Gering. Soon after his first appearance as libraire in 1497, he set up his own press in partnership with Georg Wolf, with material from Wolf's previous association with Johann Philippi. Printing largely for other publishers, during the first few years Kerver's output was evenly divided between classical and humanist texts and Books of Hours; it was later weighted more heavily to production of the more lucrative liturgical texts. He continued printing until his death in 1522.
RARE. Only 5 other copies are recorded in ISTC (which erroneously records the present copy twice, under the Doheny Memorial Library and Ned Nakles). R 1542; Bohatta Livres d'heures 593; Brunet V, 1617, Heures gothiques 166; Pollard, Morgan 581; Goff H-402.