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Image, Knife, and Gluepot: Early Assemblage in Manuscript and Print
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4. Manuscripts with Prints:
A Sticky Idea

© Kathryn M. Rudy, CC BY 4.0 https://doi.org/10.11647/OBP.0145.04

As part of my regular job as curator of illuminated manuscripts at the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (from 2006–2009) I acquired a few items for the collection. A manuscript written in the vernacular from the Meuse valley, near Roermond or Venlo, with numerous prints pasted into it (and not ripped or cut out) came onto the market, and I wrote a proposal to purchase it. But my bosses wanted to know whether it was made in the Netherlands or Germany, which was a difficult question considering that these nations did not even exist when the manuscript was made around 1490, and no clear language barrier separated the regions; rather, Middle Dutch morphed into German as one travelled from west to east in the fifteenth century. They would only consider releasing the money if I could prove that the manuscript was made on ‘our’ side of the line. I began to realise the extent to which nationalism plays a role in museum and library acquisitions.

While working at the Koninklijke Bibliotheek in The Hague, my mental health started crumbling. I took a trip to Paris for a weekend with an old friend, shortly before a consultation with a doctor, who afterwards asked, ‘Did you enjoy Paris?’ I answered in the negative, and was diagnosed instantaneously as depressed. Failing to enjoy Paris is the clinical test in the Netherlands that determines whether or not they give you prescription drugs. During that period of 2006–2009, escaping to London was my greatest tonic. I would fly or take the Eurostar, go straight to the British Museum with my luggage, then work very slowly, immersing myself in a paper world free of meetings and managers. Under these conditions, leaves from Add. 24332 and Add. 31002 surfaced slowly. They were distributed across dozens of boxes and, of course, as I was going through them, I tried to fight the temptation not to look at other fascinating objects in those boxes, but I always succumbed. This added several years to the project. Matching up membra that had become disjecta across European collections was like playing the card game Memory, in a session that would last more than a decade. I began amassing a rather large collection of prints — or rather, digital pictures of prints — that had formerly been pasted into manuscripts.

For work-related travel, I often extended trips by a day or two to work in libraries and archives. I looked for orphaned prints and for manuscripts with holes and shadows. All these travels and plunges into the archival material revealed the extent of the intermarriages between script and print. I was able to go through the Netherlandish manuscripts in the British Library, the Morgan, the Staatliche Museen Preussischer Kulturbesitz in Berlin, the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg, the Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België in Brussels, the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, the Fitzwilliam Museum, the University Library, and Trinity College in Cambridge, and of course the Koninklijke Bibliotheek in The Hague, as well as approximately 80 other smaller libraries and private collections during the thirteen years I have been working on this and related projects.

In visiting these collections, I looked for fragments from print-manuscript hybrids, while also searching more specifically for the remaining prints taken from the beghards’ early manuscript (Add. 24332). What other prints did the beghards collect around 1500? Which prints did the modern collectors remove first? I went through every one of the 100 enormous volumes Einblattdrucke des Fünfzehnten Jahrhunderts, edited by Paul Heitz and Wilhelm Ludwig Schreiber (Straßburg: Paul Heitz, 1899–2016). These volumes have facsimiles of the prints tipped onto their large album-like pages, so the books themselves resemble the collector’s archive. The early collectors were the very people who were writing and publishing these volumes, including Wiegel, Schreiber, and Heitz; consequently, the ways in which early collectors mounted prints inflected the ways in which early scholars of the material published them. With the scholar, the collector, and the archivist barely distinguishable, their methods blended and reflected one another.

I looked for groups of prints that all entered a collection on a single day; prints with late medieval handwriting on them; prints with a distinctive kind of painting, even if they were not in the same collection. I travelled to Maastricht twice to poke around in the hope that the rest of the prints from Add. 24332 might have dropped close to the tree. Curators at the Ruusbroec Library in Antwerp showed me some previously uncatalogued early prints, but they had not come from the beghards’ manuscript. I scoured the print collection at Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, and spent several months going through the prints in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, as a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts.

During the years that I searched for prints and the manuscripts from which they had been removed, several things happened. Institutions loosened up their regulations about photography. For that I am immensely grateful. The BnF became more welcoming. More scholars (including David Areford and Suzanne Karr Schmidt) became interested in the early functions of prints. I made more than 10,000 pages of notes (not just for this project, but for the five books I worked on simultaneously during this period; serial book-writing seems to me completely inefficient). I scanned my early handwritten notes and ran them through Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software. A computer can read them better than I can. I made a multi-tiered relational database, fully illustrated. Technological advances in the twenty-first century helped to paint a picture of the great technological shift that was taking place from c. 1465 to c. 1525.

Patterns

Pattern recognition did not just mean sifting through large groups of prints to hunt for scraps of handwriting or paint: in some cases the pattern lay in the very shape of the print. For example, a ghostly void haunts the painted frame of a book of hours now preserved in the British Library, Add. Ms. 17524 (fig. 108).1 This book of hours, written in Middle Dutch, has ‘metallic borders’ decoration typical of manuscripts made near Arnhem in the mid-fifteenth century. Such borders, with burnished gold leaf baguettes dominating the decorative programme, were produced by convent sisters in this region. They affixed prints alongside colourful decoration to mark the incipits of major text divisions. They used prints to take the place of miniatures and adopted the visual vocabulary of hand-crafted manuscript illumination layered upon the mechanically reproduced images. The sisters pasted the prints onto blank pages — almost always the left side of an opening, to face an incipit — and then painted the prints with body colour used for illuminating manuscripts, and added elaborate painted and gilt borders.

Fig. 108  Opening at the Hours of Eternal Wisdom, in a book of hours from the region of Arnhem. London, British Library, Add. Ms. 17524, fol. 109v-110r. Fig. 108  Opening at the Hours of Eternal Wisdom, in a book of hours from the region of Arnhem. London, British Library, Add. Ms. 17524, fol. 109v-110r.

Fig. 108 Opening at the Hours of Eternal Wisdom, in a book of hours from the region of Arnhem. London, British Library, Add. Ms. 17524, fol. 109v-110r.

The opening at the Hours of Eternal Wisdom brandishes a parchment-coloured space within the image frame, made when its print was lifted. At some point the exact print removed from this folio revealed itself in a box at the British Museum: a Christ as Salvator Mundi (e-fig. 104).

BM 1848,0212.119 — Christ as Salvator Mundi (e-fig. 104)

Christ as Salvator Mundi, silhouetted. Engraving removed from what is now London, British Library, Add. Ms. 17524. London, British Museum, Department of Prints & Drawings, inv. 1848,0212.119.

I would not have been able to connect this print and this manuscript had the print not first been silhouetted. The manuscript’s makers had apparently cut the printed image down to the quick so that they could gild and burnish the background. Gold sticks to parchment better than it does to paper, and tough parchment can withstand the rigours of burnishing, whereas Western paper often cannot. Trimmed into a rectangle, the print would not have yielded a sufficiently distinctive shape to identify it with certainty. Perhaps what’s extraordinary about this is that the person who constructed this book recognized the artistry of the engraving, did not try to apply paint to it, and found that an appropriate response to the flimsy paper image was to frame it in a thick layer of gold. She or he had ample resources at hand, including enough gold foil to fill in the entire area behind Christ and tool the surface with decorative punches. Virtually replacing the image in the gold recess feels like the resolution of a tense absence.

What the sisters in Arnhem were creating might be termed skeumorphs, which according to a dictionary definition are ‘an object or feature which imitates the design of a similar artefact made from another material’. Instead of hand-drawn lines and forms on parchment, they used printed lines on paper. In so doing, they produced books of hours that had traditional design features associated with luxury manuscripts: richly painted and gilt concoctions on parchment with a hierarchy of decoration that reiterated the structure of the book. Silhouetting the prints minimized the amount of exposed paper and simultaneously maximized the parchment. In addition to pages embellished with prints, they also created illuminations painted directly onto the parchment page, but these consisted of abstract shapes, simplified figures such as the abstracted Lamb of God, and devotional letters such as the IHS monogram.2 In other words, the sisters avoided drawing human figures and relied instead on prints to provide them.

At the Hours of the Cross, there was probably a painted crucifixion, which has made an inroad into the decoration at the top of the frame (fig. 109). I have not identified the exact print that was lifted from this spot. Two hand-coloured engravings remain in Add. 17524: the Dormition (fol. 137v) to preface the Penitential Psalms; and Abraham sacrificing Isaac (fol. 157v) to preface the Office of the Dead. These are odd choices to face these texts, and they suggest that the sisters who made the manuscript had difficulty obtaining the prints they needed for the books of hours they were making, and they therefore made do with the motifs at hand. Such was a shortcoming of using engravings: printers produced their wares at some remove from the consumers, and the consumers only occasionally dictated the subjects of the prints.3

Figs. 109  Opening at the Hours of the Cross, in a book of hours from the region of Arnhem. London, British Library, Add. Ms. 17524, fol. 59v–60r.Figs. 109  Opening at the Hours of the Cross, in a book of hours from the region of Arnhem. London, British Library, Add. Ms. 17524, fol. 59v–60r.

Figs. 109 Opening at the Hours of the Cross, in a book of hours from the region of Arnhem. London, British Library, Add. Ms. 17524, fol. 59v–60r.

Both the manuscript (now Add. 17524) and the loose print (the engraving representing Christ as Salvator Mundi) entered the collection of the British Museum in 1848, but they arrived via different routes. The British Museum purchased the manuscript in 1848 from antiquarian bookseller Th. Rodd, London, and bought the print from the London art dealer Colnaghi on 12 February 1848. The print was one of 630 items that the Museum accessioned that day. Here is a case, therefore, where a dealer is probably the person who peeled the print from its manuscript substrate.

With the absence of important clues (script on the print that might help to anchor it to a particular language region, a distinctive shape, a paper trail, a provenance, some distinctive iconography), the task of reconstructing becomes much more difficult. Many manuscripts have ‘holes’ in them where prints or other images were formerly pasted. One of these is a book of hours probably made by Franciscan women in Zutphen, not far from Arnhem (fig. 110).4 At each of the major text divisions, the manuscript has a large decorated initial, with painted and gilt border decoration on four sides, and a facing folio that would originally have contained an image. I have not tracked down all the prints that I presume went into these spaces, but propose that the opening at the incipit of the Hours of the Holy Spirit might have had an engraving of the Pentecost, which fits perfectly into the hole. An example survives in London, although this is unlikely to be the very print that originally filled the hole, as the colours clash like pickles and cream (e-fig. 105).

BM 1847,0318.128 — Pentecost (e-fig. 105)

Pentecost, engraving. London, British Museum, Department of Prints & Drawings, inv. 1847,0318.128.

Fig. 110  Opening in a book of hours probably made by Franciscan women in Zutphen, with space left for prints to be pasted in. The Hague, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Ms. 77 L 58, fol. 85v-86r.

Fig. 110 Opening in a book of hours probably made by Franciscan women in Zutphen, with space left for prints to be pasted in. The Hague, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Ms. 77 L 58, fol. 85v-86r.

One always has the feeling that the staff who fetch the prints are slightly put out, so one does not want to vex them, but to request only as many boxes as can be worked through in a single day. Curators and reading room attendants have the institutional knowledge, expertise, and an overview of the collection to be able to recommend books, catalogues, other prints, and resources or, on a bad day, they can withhold all these things. I knew, from being on the other side, how close some overworked, underpaid cultural workers might be to snapping.

Hiding in Plain Sight: Prints from Another Drugulin Manuscript

For the date 14 November 1868, none of the last ten items in the BM’s Prints & Drawings Register (222–31) appears in Naumann’s Archiv (discussed in Chapter 3). These ten are not flagged as being different or separate in the Register, where, for example, 231 is described as ‘Christ on the cross in the middle of a sort of dial, with vignettes below of the Mass of St Gregory and the virgin with St Anne’ (e-fig. 106). No. 229 is ‘Seven medallions on a wheel, surmounted by a figure of the virgin with the child’. (e-fig. 107).

BM 1868,1114.231 — Christ on the cross on Earth (e-fig. 106)

Christ on the cross on Earth surrounded by the rings of the planets of the solar system, with the Mass of St Gregory, the Annunciation, and the Virgin in sole below. Hand-coloured engraving removed from what is now London, British Library, Ms. 31001. London, British Museum, Department of Prints & Drawings, inv. 1868,1114.231.

BM 1868,1114.229 — Seven Joys of the Virgin (e-fig. 107)

Seven Joys of the Virgin. Hand-coloured engraving removed from what is now London, British Library, Ms. 31001. London, British Museum, Department of Prints & Drawings, inv. 1868,1114.229.

These descriptions are somewhat more convoluted than those in 1–221, but I was slow to realise that they comprised a separate group of prints, which came from a different manuscript entirely. Part of the reason for my slowness was that the nineteenth-century museum assistant had arranged them all together, intermingling the prints from Add. 31002 with those from another manuscript. This clustering had a powerful effect, and forged a relationship where none existed. The mounter had made a ‘collection’ simply by placing the prints together. For example, one matte (fig. 111) contains ten prints with devotional subjects that were entered on 14 November 1868. All share a similar scale, medium (hand-painted engraving), and palette, with red lake and a yellow wash familiar from many of the other prints lifted from Add. 31002. The print at the top centre has a large area of blue, otherwise not present in the Add. 31002 group, but I did not make anything of this the first few times I saw it. Only later did I realise that this print came from a different context, with a different palette, harvested from a different manuscript.

Fig. 111  Matte from 1868, with prints taken from two manuscripts. London, British Museum, Department of Prints & Drawings.

Fig. 111 Matte from 1868, with prints taken from two manuscripts. London, British Museum, Department of Prints & Drawings.

According to the Register for 14 November 1868, all the prints that were entered under the numbers 1–2315 came from the Leipzig art dealer Wilhelm Eduard Drugulin. The Register gives the misleading impression that these prints all came from a single manuscript from Drugulin’s collection. Rather, the 231 prints came from two manuscripts. As I have shown in the previous chapter, most of these prints were removed from the manuscript that became Add. 31002, volumes I and II, which was ‘Transferred from the Dept of Prints and Drawings 24 March 1879’, according to a note on the flyleaf of vol. I. The BM must have purchased the entire manuscript, prints and all, and removed the images systematically. After the print curators removed and accessioned the prints in 1868, they stored the manuscript in the Department of Prints and Drawings for eleven years, before transferring it to the Department of Manuscripts. As it turns out, a manuscript co-traveller embarked on this same journey: from the Netherlands, to Drugulin, to the British Museum’s Department of Prints and Drawings, to the Department of Manuscripts. This manuscript now bears the adjacent shelf number, Add. 31001, and not only is its history entangled with that of Add. 31002 but so were its very prints. Add. 31001 bears a nearly identical note on its first flyleaf: ‘Transferred from the Dept of Prints & Drawings, 24 March 1879’. Drugulin sold them to the British Museum at the same time; they were both stripped of their prints, and their prints were registered on 14 November 1868. The hulls of both books were then transferred to the Manuscripts Department on the same day together. Whoever mounted the prints made a collage with prints from both manuscripts together.

I wish I could say that I realised right away that the image at the top of the matte (see fig. 111), with Christ in half-length holding the orb, did not belong with the others. Someone had painted it with a different technique and palette from the rest of the prints stuck on the matte, but I wrote this difference off. And it is earlier than the other prints on the sheet, but again, I had begun to see these as a category and when that happens, one is predisposed to find similarities rather than differences. Only slowly did I realise that this print came from a different manuscript, by a different religious house; eventually I worked out that they had come from a prayerbook full of ‘virtual’ pilgrimages rather than a book of hours full of extra suffrages. When art historians write up their research, they usually just report on the solutions and conclusions, without revealing how they arrived there. They skip some steps, in which they look bumblingly stupid, and move directly to the climax. I’d wager that moments of epiphany occur only in the movies: the lightbulb goes on in the fantasy versions of our research, but rarely in reality. This set of discoveries I have been chronicling happened slowly: wrong ideas were eroded when they rubbed up against many small grains of evidence, until their shape changed into more correct notions. Events unfolded slowly. During the time it took me to finish the research for this book, I completed three others. In the down times, sometimes I connected pieces of information that led towards reconstruction. Sometimes I simply forgot things. And I had to stare at the evidence several times before accepting it, or even realising that it was evidence. Perhaps you, my reader, would have seen Christ with the orb pop out from the matte, spotted the difference straight away and known the solution. But I did not. I now see that this is the only print in the group that uses blue pigment. Once you conceptualise them as different, it is impossible to revert to seeing them as the same.

In both dismembered manuscripts — Add. 31001 and Add. 31002 — the prints were numbered in the same sequence that they had appeared in their respective manuscripts. Immediately after they were harvested, the prints from the beghards’ manuscript (now Add. 31002) were given the BM accession numbers 1868,1114.1–221, as described earlier. Those prints that came from the other manuscript (Add. 31001) received the numbers 1868,1114.222–231. Seeing that these prints came from two manuscripts, not one, provides a fuller picture of the use of prints in manuscripts in the Low Countries at the end of the fifteenth and beginning of the sixteenth centuries.

Add. 31001 — a prayerbook — originally had ten distinctively painted prints glued to its paper folios, now 1868,1114.222-231 (fig. 112).6 When the conservator harvested the ten prints, he cut out not just the prints but the entire paper folio each was pasted to. These ten folios had text on one side and a print filling the other: indeed, the prints are only slightly smaller than the manuscript that contained them, the folios of which measure 136 x 96 millimetres. Then the conservator peeled the prints off the paper pages and accessioned them into the Department of Prints & Drawings as LBM 1868,1114.222–231. Instead of reattaching these ten folios, inscribed on one side but now blank and grubby on the other, at their correct locations within the manuscript, he simply pasted them together into a booklet and inserted this booklet at the end of the manuscript. It therefore came about that the verso sides of folios 197–206 (the last ten folios in the manuscript) are singletons stained with glue, revealing that they formerly had objects pasted to them.

Fig. 112  Ten hand-coloured engravings removed from what is now London, British Library, Ms. 31001. London, British Museum, Department of Prints & Drawings, inv. 1868,1114.222-231.

Fig. 112 Ten hand-coloured engravings removed from what is now London, British Library, Ms. 31001. London, British Museum, Department of Prints & Drawings, inv. 1868,1114.222-231.

In this case, reconstructing the original order of the folios provides a clear sense of the role the images played in the maker’s original plan. The prints were originally used to mark the beginnings of text passages in a manuscript that contained a prayer for visiting places in the Holy Land, listing the major events that took place at each location (fig. 113). Seven of the prints were used to preface texts to the Seven Principal Churches, where each church is assigned a letter from A-G. This key is then used in a narrative calendar elsewhere in the manuscript, in which the reader virtually visits the churches according to a set sequence, earning indulgences signified by red and blue crosses (fig. 114). All this material I worked on assiduously, and the reconstructions formed the basis for analysis about how women religious used prints to aid devotions based around ‘virtual’ pilgrimage. These I published in a book called Nuns’ Virtual Pilgrimages, which came out in 2011.

Figs. 113  Instructions for visiting sites around Jerusalem. Opening of a prayerbook with texts for conducting virtual pilgrimages. London, British Library, Ms. 31001, fols. 71v-72r.Figs. 113  Instructions for visiting sites around Jerusalem. Opening of a prayerbook with texts for conducting virtual pilgrimages. London, British Library, Ms. 31001, fols. 71v-72r.

Figs. 113 Instructions for visiting sites around Jerusalem. Opening of a prayerbook with texts for conducting virtual pilgrimages. London, British Library, Ms. 31001, fols. 71v-72r.

Figs. 114  Calendar with indulgences for virtual visiting the Seven Principal Churches of Rome. Opening of a prayerbook with texts for conducting virtual pilgrimages. London, British Library, Ms. 31001, fols. 59v-60r.

Figs. 114 Calendar with indulgences for virtual visiting the Seven Principal Churches of Rome. Opening of a prayerbook with texts for conducting virtual pilgrimages. London, British Library, Ms. 31001, fols. 59v-60r.

At that time, I followed Ulla Sander Olsen, who catalogued this manuscript as Birgittine, because on the first folio verso is this text, written in the same hand as the rest of the manuscript: ‘Item, het is gemenlick in St Brigitten cloesteren, soe wie Marien eygen wil sijn, die sal op een dach van haer hoechtiden lesen vii .c. Ave Marien’ (It is the usual practice in Birgittine convents, for those who want to imitate Mary herself, to read 700 Ave Marias on her feast days).7 The most famous Birgittine manuscripts written in Dutch have been connected with the convent of Mariënwater in Rosmalen, which is where Sander Olsen localised this manuscript.8 Stooker and Verbeij, who endeavoured to list every manuscript with an origin in a Netherlandish monastic context, repeated this assessment.9 Although I thought that the manuscript was from Utrecht, not Rosmalen, I am guilty of following them in calling it a Birgittine manuscript without sufficient questioning. In October 2017, Clarck Drieshen at the British Library shared his analysis about this book with me and convinced me that the book was actually written in the context of a female Dominican convent.10 For example, one prayer refers to ‘our holy patron and father St Dominic, St Catherine of Siena’ (fol. 185r: ‘onsen heiligen potroen [sic] ende vader sint Dominicus sint Katryn vander seyn’). The litany also names St Catherine twice, one referring to St Catherine of Alexandria, the other to St Catherine of Siena, a Dominican tertiary. Catherine of Siena is also mentioned in the Golden Litany (fol. 174v). A text to earn the indulgences of the Seven Churches in Rome states that ‘the brothers and sisters of the Order of Preachers must read the Seven [Penitential] psalms’ (fol. 57v: ‘die bruederen ende susteren vander predicaer orden moeten lesen eens een seven psalm’), whereas the text does not specify instructions for other religious orders.

Contextualising the manuscript in a Dominican rather than a Birgittine milieu changes the way in which one understands its image-text relationships. Most of the prints in the manuscript (seven out of ten, 222–228) were used to preface prayers to be read while visiting in imagination the Seven Principal Churches of Rome (fols 9r–33v, 198r–203r). These churches are San Pietro, San Lorenzo, San Sebastiano, San Giovanni in Laterano, San Paolo, Sta Croce, and Sta Maria Maggiore. Each print marked a reading to one of the churches, which refers both to the church and to one of Christ’s seven sheddings of blood. Most of these events belong to the Passion narrative. For example, the reader was directed to the Church of San Pietro while simultaneously addressing Jesus when he ‘lay on the Mount of Olives sweating water and blood’ (fol. 198r). In this way, the prayers embed the Seven Churches with the Passion narrative.11

Since Add. 31001 is Dominican, rather than Birgittine, it connects with a tradition of representing these Seven Principle Churches that one finds, inter alia, in the Dominican convent in Augsburg.12 In 1496 sisters there commissioned a series of large oil paintings from Hans Holbein the Elder, Hans Burgkmair the Elder, and the artist now known as the Monogrammist LF. These paintings depict the Seven Principle Churches, but each also features an event from the Passion of Christ at the top. For example, the panel depicting the basilicas of San Lorenzo and San Sebastiano is surmounted by an image of Judas betraying Christ with a kiss (fig. 115).

Fig. 115  Attributed to the Monogrammist LF, Basilicas of San Lorenzo and San Sebastiano surmounted by an image of Judas betraying Christ with a kiss, painting on panel, 1502. Commissioned by Helena Rephonin for the Dominican convent of St Catherine in Augsburg.

Fig. 115 Attributed to the Monogrammist LF, Basilicas of San Lorenzo and San Sebastiano surmounted by an image of Judas betraying Christ with a kiss, painting on panel, 1502. Commissioned by Helena Rephonin for the Dominican convent of St Catherine in Augsburg.

A record of transaction indicates the function of these Basilikenbilder: the commission followed an indulgence privilege of 1487 by Pope Innocent VIII, which gave pilgrims to St Katherine’s convent in Augsburg the same indulgence they would receive if they went to Rome during the Jubilee year of 1500.13 The Sta Maria Maggiore is the only painting of the series to have been completed before the Jubilee. Thus, the paintings in Augsburg are contemporary with Add. 31001, and they promoted a related form of devotion: ‘virtual’ pilgrimage to the Seven Churches of Rome, rewarded with significant indulgences, and designed for Dominican women who may not have been able to travel. Both the series of panels and the array of prints in Add. 31001 map the Churches of Rome onto events of Christ’s bloodshed, although they do not follow the same sequence and pairings. Although the panels were made in Augsburg and the manuscript in the Netherlands, they may have been informed by the same Dominican reformers.

Where was Add. 31001 made? There were only a few houses of female Dominicans in the Dutch-speaking regions:

Assebroek near Bruges (Assebroek bij Brugge), called Valley of the Angels (Engelendale);

Leiden, Second Order Dominicans dedicated to Maria Magdalene, called the ‘white nuns’;

Westroyen near Tiel (Westroyen bij Tiel), Second Order Dominicans dedicated to Mary Magdalene;

Wijk near Duurstede (Wijk bij Duurstede), Second Order Dominicans dedicated to Mary Magdalene.

When I showed Peter Gumbert, the great codicologist, pictures of Add. 31001, he told me that it was made in the bishopric of Utrecht. With this in mind, the most likely candidates were Leiden, Westroyen, and Wijk. Given the affinities between the panels in Augsburg and the manuscript made near Utrecht, it makes sense that both their religious ideas — such as the particular approach to the Seven Churches of Rome — and engravings with religious subjects could have travelled along networks in which Dominican convents formed nodes.

The Dregs in Paris

In Paris no prints that were definitely from Add. 24332 had announced themselves. However, other fragments appeared, which revealed that other manuscripts-cum-prints had been broken down and their printed parts accessioned. A few prints in the BnF still have tattered fragments of their original context. For example, one collector apparently decided to salvage a metalcut print depicting a female saint for a print collection (fig. 116).14 This fifteenth-century parchment leaf probably formed the final flyleaf in a manuscript prayerbook. It is clear that the leaf was cut from a manuscript, because there were at least three round badges also sewn to the page, and these were impressed into the parchment with a degree of pressure such as that exerted by a closed book. Some of the badges overlapped the print. Someone, perhaps the original owner, has also trimmed away part of the paper at the bottom, possibly so that she could attach a badge directly to the strong parchment rather than to the much weaker paper. On first inspection, one might think that the image represents St Dorothy, who carried a basket of flowers. Angels hold a cloth of honour behind the saint, as she carries a basket of flowers as well as a blossoming sprig. However, the inscription makes plain that the owner conceptualized the image as St Opportune, which is the name that the early owner has also written at the foot of the print in a competent fifteenth-century hand.15 The book was later dismantled when a collector decided that the print had more value as an object in a frame. Fortunately, the dismantler realised that the substrate on which the print was attached also had some value, and therefore cut out the entire parchment leaf to which it was affixed.

Fig. 116  Folio removed from a manuscript, with a woodcut print depicting St Opportune. Paris, BnF, Département des Estampes. (Courboin 614; Bouchot 140; Schreiber 2716). Published with kind permission from the Bibliothèque nationale de France.

Fig. 116 Folio removed from a manuscript, with a woodcut print depicting St Opportune. Paris, BnF, Département des Estampes. (Courboin 614; Bouchot 140; Schreiber 2716). Published with kind permission from the Bibliothèque nationale de France.

As I have argued elsewhere, late medieval owners who affixed one thing into a book often affixed several: it was a matter of conceptualizing the book as a storage chest for small devotionalia.16 In this case, the owner not only glued the print into the book but also attached several small round metal discs (either pilgrims’ badges or tokens from having taken the Eucharist).17 These have left an offset on the page. Apparently, the book’s owner thought of this page as being the one on which he or she would collect various devotional items. The large badge may represent Mary Magdalene, whose shrine was at Ste Baume in Provence, where the saint was said to have lived as a hermit and ascended to heaven on the backs of angels to consume the Eucharist every day.

The production of prints on paper was not dissimilar from the production of badges in cheap lead-tin: both involved making small moulds for the mechanical reproduction of compact images, most of them religious (but the techniques were cheap and easy enough to experiment with non-religious images). With few exceptions (such as the Hours of Charles d’Angoulême, discussed below), only religious images ended up in manuscript prayerbooks. As far as I know, there are no occurrences of sexual imagery on badges affixed to religious manuscripts.

An image of the Descent of the Holy Spirit, engraved and then hand-painted, was used in the fifteenth century to historiate an initial in a large manuscript, possibly a choir book (fig. 117). This engraving is attributed to the Master of the Berlin Passion, who was active in the Middle and Lower Rhine regions around 1460. Abstract shapes painted around the print fill up the extra space. Later a collector cut out the colourful initial — print, frame, letter, and all — turning it into a decontextualized, independent image that would look pretty in a frame on the wall. The palette within the engraved image of the Pentecost, with strong red, blue, and green, plus purple reserved for the Virgin — is repeated in the geometric pattern framing the print. However, the large green initial and its framing red background are made in a different type of paint with a slightly different palette. Whereas the print is hand-coloured in semi-transparent washes, the red and green of the frame are executed in opaque body colour, built up and modelled to depict acanthus. This suggests a division of labour. One painter made the initial, while another filled in the initial with a print and made a design to fill the otherwise awkward gap. Although some printers might have constructed prints especially for the purpose of using them as historiated initials, this rectangular one was probably not built for that purpose: roundels find a more comfortable home within letters. A fascinating element of early prints is their indeterminacy: we do not know the original intended destination for this print, nor the identity of the person who adapted it to become an initial.

Fig. 117  Pentecost engraving pasted into a painted initial removed from a manuscript. Paris, BnF, Département des Estampes, Ea 18 c Res (Lehrs 25). Published with kind permission from the Bibliothèque nationale de France.

Fig. 117 Pentecost engraving pasted into a painted initial removed from a manuscript. Paris, BnF, Département des Estampes, Ea 18 c Res (Lehrs 25). Published with kind permission from the Bibliothèque nationale de France.

Many of the early prints pasted into initials came from this region, as for example an engraving depicting the Virgin of the Sun, which has been carefully painted and then pasted into the letter H in a German prayerbook (fig. 61). The collector harvested the whole letter with some of the nearby script, which is rather shaky and distinctive enough to be easily recognisable. Nevertheless, I have not yet located the manuscript from which this was presumably cut. Many other prints in Paris were probably cut out of manuscripts, but they do not have any manuscript flesh hanging off their bones. Unlike London’s, the collection in Paris did not, as far as I can tell, have the manuscript hulls in the manuscripts department. The Paris and London print rooms held in common the notion that prints should be filed and mounted separately in order to give them a certain curatorial or scholarly context. The archivists and librarians in the BnF of the nineteenth century used the same tools the beghards had used to assemble highly illustrated manuscripts in the first place, only they had different contextualizing priorities. This knife-and-glue approach to imposing order was a practice that stretched across post-Napoleonic Europe.

Berlin

In a formative summer in Berlin in 1990 after the Wall came down, I lived with a refugee from East Africa and a German lute-player who was into aromatherapy. It was my introduction to BBC radio, hand-whipped cream, and goat cooked with fruit. That summer I read Thomas Pynchon’s V, and did performance art on the street in front of the British consulate, which had lent us a table for the endeavour. We were commenting on the commerce in the streets: Eastern Europeans were selling Russian underwear and discovering Nutella. When in 2015 I spent a week in Berlin to look for prints that might have come from the beghards’ manuscript, the city had changed and become more generic. Fragments of wall were smashed up and offered for sale. There were no more throngs on the streets who looked like they had crawled out of a gulag. It felt more like Frankfurt and less like Kiev. There I made a last-ditch effort to find the missing cache of prints. I did not find them, but did of course find some other prints, which were at least as interesting, and told some other stories about the early attempts to move from manuscript to print in the fifteenth century.

One of these depicted St Augustine with his mitre, writing into a codex at a desk (fig. 118). This woodcut has several kinds of printed border decoration framing the saint. First, there are two boundary lines. Outside those is a layer of flower and leaf motifs. Surrounding those are two more boundary lines. In other words, the printer has added border decoration that resembles those found on illuminated manuscripts, trying to bring the visual aesthetic of printing in line with the technology it was slowly replacing. To enhance these, a decorator armed with several tools (a brush, a pen, and a metal-burnishing device) added a competing array of colour to the image. He (or she) added a metallic layer to the saint’s halo and to the inner frame (most of which has flaked off), and painted the borders with washes, and then carefully painted in the figure with several intensities of red wash in order to heighten the illusionism of the drapery folds. But then the decorator (or another user) picked up a pen and dipped it in red ink and added an array of items that were not in the printed lines: the sun, moon and stars, the trajectory lines of a dove speeding into the saint’s ear, a backrest for what would otherwise be an uncomfortable bench, and the saint’s name, Sanctu Augustinus, by using a horizontal plank of the bench as if it were the top and bottom rulings on a manuscript page. Many of these rubricated interventions resemble those used by the beghards in Add. 24332, but here they are even more emphatic and insist on pulling the mechanically produced print back into the world of the manuscript. Here were two technologies, each fighting to occupy the top layer.

Fig. 118  St Augustine, woodcut print, hand-painted. Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett, Box 107 A3A. (Schreiber 1244 E).

Fig. 118 St Augustine, woodcut print, hand-painted. Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett, Box 107 A3A. (Schreiber 1244 E).

These values competed even more strongly in an unusual image in the Berlin collection, which shows the Stripping of Christ before the Crucifixion (fig. 119). Here the painter has begun with a German engraving from a Passion series and used that as a template, applying thick, opaque paints in bold colours over the printed lines. He or she has painted the landscape with an emphatic green, which is as bold in the foreground as in the background, and frames the grim events at the centre: Christ is having his purple robe pulled off his body by an armoured soldier, to which the painter has added an important detail with dabs of red paint: pulling off the garment yanked off the scabs that were covering the lacerations from the Flagellation, and reopened all the wounds. The painter has used the white paper with its delicate engraved lines to highlight the body of Christ at the centre of the image, silhouetting it against the green, so that the red-and-white body occupies the centre of attention. Brown purple has also been cleverly used for both the cross and the garment, so that these two objects isolate and frame the Corpus Christi. Moreover, the painter has modulated the colour applied to the other figures, reserving the most intense blue for the man raising his hand behind Jesus, so that his action draws the viewer’s attention, but painted the figures to the right with either watered-down pigment or no pigment at all, so as to diminish their compositional importance. The thoughtful painter also produced the triple-layered frame, as well as the floral border decoration. This floriated border is unusual in that the four sides (including the left and right) are of equal width, and the overall shape of the sheet is square, not rectangular. This means that the object was not designed as a page in a manuscript, which nearly always has a thicker outer border than inner one.18 It has traces of glue on all four sides, especially at the top and bottom, which indicates that the sheet was mounted and framed, although the mounting and framing could have taken place at any point along the object’s biography. Here print technology and manuscript techniques have come together to form something new: a colourful autonomous image designed to live outside a book or album, perhaps on a wall.

Fig. 119  Master the Berlin Passion, Stripping of Christ, hand-painted engraving. Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett, Inv. 2-56. (Lehrs 28 I).

Fig. 119 Master the Berlin Passion, Stripping of Christ, hand-painted engraving. Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett, Inv. 2-56. (Lehrs 28 I).

Printers of single-leaf images, however, wanted to make their products competitive with the old hand-made kind, and they innovated ways to do this. A not entirely successful experiment appears in a print depicting the Virgin and Child (fig. 120).19 Here the printer has co-opted the material of manuscript illumination by printing the engraving on parchment. This was incorporated into a manuscript and inscribed on the back. Strangely, however, the medium of engraving calls attention to itself, because the book maker has allowed the printed lines to represent the Virgin and Child, without further hand-colouring. Studying the image reveals why. Just as the engraving of Christ formerly in Add. 17524 was silhouetted so that the parchment background could be gilded (e-fig. 104), so too this image of the Virgin and Child has been isolated and gilded. A crusty field appears behind them, consisting of a thin skin of chalk glue. This was the sticky white gesso that was applied in order to make the gold adhere. And this was the thinnest possible layer of gold leaf, most of which has launched itself from the page. Similarly, the floriated border was treated with this same mucilaginous skin. It is possible that the glue had also been applied with mechanical means by a plate, or more likely a stencil, prepared with the white sticky substance, so that the gilding process could likewise be semi-automated.20 If this is the case, then only the tri-petalled flowers in the border would have been hand-painted, although they, too, have shed their paint, turning the sheet into a ghostly apparition of its formerly sparkly and colourful self. By printing the image, automating the gilding as far as possible, refraining from detailed penwork, and restricting the paint to the corralled areas in the gold recesses, the maker of this object found multiple ways to create something that smacked of luxury, while simultaneously reducing labour and skill.

Fig. 120  Master of the Dutuit Garden of Olives, Virgin and Child engraving, printed on parchment and gilt. Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett, Inv. 446-I (Lehrs 49).

Fig. 120 Master of the Dutuit Garden of Olives, Virgin and Child engraving, printed on parchment and gilt. Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett, Inv. 446-I (Lehrs 49).

Printers also used parchment regularly as a substrate for a particular application: making large Crucifixion prints (fig. 121). This reveals another way in which printers were trying to become involved in manuscript-making practices. They fell upon a niche in the market with large images of Christ crucified between Mary and John. A complete census of these is yet to be written. I suspect that they were made to be used in missals, which usually had one image only: the Crucifixion, to accompany the Canon of the Mass. These images wore out because they were kissed and handled during the regular course of the Mass, and book makers were sometimes employed to replace the crucifixion pages. Printers saw a gap in the market and attempted to fill it with sheets such as this one, which is printed on parchment. One can see by the discolouration at the top, bottom, and left sides, but the clean right edge, that this sheet was cut out of a book. For collectors in areas that had become Protestant, the large printed image in a Catholic missal might have been the only part worth saving.

Fig. 121  Monogrammist AG, Large Crucifixion, hand-painted engraving on parchment. Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett, Inv. 998-I (Lehrs 3b).

Fig. 121 Monogrammist AG, Large Crucifixion, hand-painted engraving on parchment. Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett, Inv. 998-I (Lehrs 3b).

Bleeding into a Chalice

My slow, cheap travel around Europe had actually begun in March 1999, when I moved to Antwerp to do my dissertation research. One of my first trips had been to the Park Abbey in Heverlee, outside Leuven. It was before email was widely used, so I had written a letter to the Abbey to ask to see one of their manuscripts, which Maria Meertens had described.21 I quickly received a note back, with an invitation to visit. Before moving to Belgium I had studied manuscripts in New York as a graduate student at Columbia. Going to the Pierpont Morgan Library involved complying with the institution’s unspoken formal dress code. I did not know what one was supposed to wear to an abbey, so I put on the only skirt-suit and heels that I had schlepped across the Atlantic, and then faced down the public transport system in Belgium. (I had put an entire milk crate full of files into my bursting luggage, which did not leave much room for clothes. As a going-away present, my flatmates had given me a roll of duct tape and a bottle of aspirin, anticipating problems with my luggage and my head.)

From Antwerp, getting to the Park Abbey involved two trains, a bus, and then a long walk in heels down what seemed an interminable, rutted, muddy track, where there were exotic chickens and fowl of every variety filling the giant yard around the abbey. The Norbertine who opened the door towered above mud-splattered me and led me in, where I quickly sidestepped a hunk of plaster that nearly fell on my head, which only seconds earlier had formed part of a deep relief ceiling sculpture representing Saul falling off his horse and becoming St Paul. I had narrowly escaped a violent religious conversion. Sagging heavily, the baroque staircase resembled a tiered wedding cake that had shifted in transit. But we did not stay in there long. He quickly whisked me outside again to an outbuilding with a double door of the sort one finds in stables. Only the lower door opened; the upper door was stuck in place. I had to crawl through chicken manure to get to the other side.

When I opened my eyes inside the dark building, what came into focus was an aquarium filled with human femurs sticking up vertically. He must have registered my surprise. ‘Those are the bones of our brothers we find when we’re gardening.’ Next to it was a table covered in a thick green velvet cloth, covered with stacks and stacks of dusty, handwritten account books. He then indicated where I should sit, as if I were to take up a position next to the phantom accountant and his abandoned task. Next the towering Norbertine presented the manuscript to me. The small window was so filthy that it hardly let in any light, so I sacrificed the elbow of my suit to clean it. He then left me alone, with the manuscript, the chicken excrement, the pre-Napoleonic ledgers, and the skeletons. I had a film camera with me, and only one roll of 36 frames, so every shot was precious. I had enough to document the manuscript, but not the surroundings. Before I sat down to begin studying it, I reached into my bag for my glasses, and realised that I had forgotten them. In the semi-darkness, glasses-less, I thought that the manuscript contained a series of engravings forming a Passion series, plus a series of roundels and various texts in Dutch. Photographing it was a disaster, in low light without being able to focus properly, using a fully manual, film camera.

It was not until July 2005 that I was able to see the manuscript again. This time I was living in Amsterdam, where I had been in tremendous abdominal pain and had to have an operation. It was a hot July. When I returned from the hospital, I was delirious and weak, and my artist friend Henriëtte decided I was good for not much else than serving as a life model and came over and photographed the surgical wound across my abdomen. I looked like a vièrge ouvrant. My mother flew over to help me, and I also hired a struggling immigrant to help with laundry and household tasks. Not realising it was not a cleaning product like the other bottles under the sink, he polished my entire kitchen with WD40. The apartment was uninhabitable, so my mother and I taped up my abdomen and went to Belgium, and then hobbled to the abbey. The chickens had disappeared, and we photographed the manuscript together in a well-lit room with frothy Rococo paintings. The hands in the pictures of the manuscript are hers.

Now under decent lighting, the manuscript, I could see, contained a series of small, engraved roundels representing scenes from the Passion of Christ. I could confirm Maria Meertens’s assessment: Heverlee, Abdij van Park, Ms. 18 was made near the end of the fifteenth century for Dutch-speaking Augustinian sisters in Brabant.22 Several features of this manuscript are highly unusual. The manuscript contains a variety of texts written in the vernacular, that is, in Middle Dutch, many of which are for communal use, and several of which are for private meditation. One text offers detailed instructions for the young sister to prepare the bedroom inside her heart for her bridegroom. As such it toggles between the extended metaphor of the heart-as-house, and concrete instructions to prepare and furnish a physical space.23 In addition to the spiritual bedroom text, the manuscript contains prayers to be read at selected feast dates throughout the liturgical year (fols 10v–85v). In structure and style, the feast day texts are related to the Spiritual Bedroom, as both texts comprise instructions written in the second person that ask the reader to prepare and decorate the trappings associated with the respective festivities, for example to make crowns, sew special clothes, or embellish objects with particular words. Furthermore, both texts provide a running interpretation of the rituals, as well as a running commentary about the objects used in those rituals.

Many of the feast-day prayers have been illustrated with historiated initials of the sort encountered in Chapter 1: small engraved roundels, hand-coloured and pasted into initials. In all, eleven small, round, hand-coloured engravings depicting scenes from the Passion have been pasted into some of the initials marking the beginnings of corresponding texts. These prints embellish the section of the book that provides readings for the Easter season of the liturgical year. They were made after a set by the Master ES (Lehrs 201) that contains twelve scenes from the Passion and six saints, all printed together on the same sheet. Master ES’s plate was probably reworked, and some of the resulting prints were pasted into a German prayerbook, a manuscript now in St Gallen.24 Another engraver copied these re-worked images, thereby reversing them. The resulting roundels — but only the Passion cycle — appear pasted into initials of the Heverlee manuscript (fig. 122). All this suggests that several engravers were tapping the market of book makers who wanted instant historiated initials, to the degree that various engravers could make competing series; some even copied each other in order to gain a slice of this market. The surviving number of manuscripts with printed roundels pasted in, however, is small. Assuming that each engraver would have to make around 100–400 copies of a print to be able to turn a profit, then less than 1 per cent of this early printed material survives.

Fig. 122  Opening in a prayerbook, with prayers for the weeks of the liturgical year, each one beginning with an initial filled with a hand-painted engraving. Heverlee, Abdij van Park, Ms. 18, fols 27v-28r.

Fig. 122 Opening in a prayerbook, with prayers for the weeks of the liturgical year, each one beginning with an initial filled with a hand-painted engraving. Heverlee, Abdij van Park, Ms. 18, fols 27v-28r.

In the Heverlee manuscript, someone has coloured in the prints, largely with red and blue, which could be the same paints used for the red and blue frames that define the letters around the roundels and provide a decorative armature. Indeed, the person who added colour to the black-and-white prints may also have made the decorative flourishes. In the background of the Flagellation, the colourist has added a red cross-hatched back wall, as if extending Christ’s lacerated flesh to fill the room. These lines are not in the print, but were added by the colourist. What is striking is that the lines are thin, straight, and parallel, of the sort one might make with a pen, and they are executed in the same shade of red as the red penwork. This, in turn, appears to be the same red as the rubricated words. Meanwhile the blue area at the top of the roundel appears to be a watered-down wash of the same blue paint found in the letter O. It is not implausible that the scribe both executed the penwork and coloured in the engravings.

What is extraordinary is that the printed roundels have defined the illustrative programme for the entire highly decorated manuscript: whoever made the book copied the size and format of these engraved roundels to make painted historiated initials. In other words, the painter could have executed square miniatures, or marginal images, or historiated initials of any size, but chose to replicate the size and form of the round initials that measure eight lines high. Although there are many examples of illuminators using prints as models for their images, here the illuminator seems to have drawn on engraved roundels not for the subjects or compositions but for their size, shape, and graphic approach to representation. Consequently, the historiated initials look like line drawings filled with light wash, and therefore resemble the prints, which are black ink printed on paper filled in with light wash.

The prints, it would seem, formed the organizing principle for the pictorial elements in the book, which the book maker, possibly an Augustinian sister, extended with twenty-four of her own small, round images. This includes images relevant to other feasts, which have all been painted as roundels, eight lines high. For example, for the ‘glorious feast of the Holy Sacrament’ (‘Op die gloriose feeste des heilighen sacraments’, fol. 49v; fig. 123), the book maker has drawn an image of Jesus opening his side wound into a chalice. Like the background behind the Flagellation, this one has also been cross-hatched, this time with a drop of red ‘blood’ in every chamber, thereby exploiting a metaphor that Marlene Hennessy has elucidated: that of Christ’s blood as ink.25 The roundel follows certain other conventions of the engravings, such as the low horizon line, the outlined approach to figural representation, and the clumsy use of space. Likewise, for a prayer to be read on the feast day of the translation of the Cross (‘Vander verheffinghen des heilig cruys’, fol. 54v; fig. 124), the format remains the same, with an eight-line roundel. This time the colours make plain that whoever painted the image was using the same palette as the person inscribing the initial O and decorating it, as the same red, blue, and green reappear in the historiated initial. It therefore seems likely that the person who executed the roundels was also the person who added the decoration to the pages.

Fig. 123  Folio in a prayerbook, with prayers for the feast of the Sacrament. Heverlee, Abdij van Park, Ms. 18, fol. 49v.

Fig. 123 Folio in a prayerbook, with prayers for the feast of the Sacrament. Heverlee, Abdij van Park, Ms. 18, fol. 49v.

Fig. 124  Folio in a prayerbook, with prayers for the feast of the Holy Cross. Heverlee, Abdij van Park, Ms. 18, fol. 54v.

Fig. 124 Folio in a prayerbook, with prayers for the feast of the Holy Cross. Heverlee, Abdij van Park, Ms. 18, fol. 54v.

Several more of these images populate the section of prayers for feast days honouring particular saints: John the Baptist, John the Evangelist, Peter, Lawrence, Augustine, Jerome, Mary Magdalene, and Barbara. Among the feast day texts are those for St Augustine, who is called ‘our holy father and worthy patron’ (‘Onsen heilighen vader ende werdighen patronen sinte Augustinus’, fol. 79v). The accompanying historiated initial depicts a woman in a white habit and a black veil kneeling at the feet of the saint (fig. 125). This confirms that the book was made for an Augustinian nun.

Another historiated initial features St Elizabeth, who administered to the sick and hungry and was selected as the patron saint of most medieval hospitals of the region (fol. 85r, fig. 126).26 Elizabeth, the daughter of the King of Hungary, the least common of the three female saints with a specially celebrated feast day, is depicted in a historiated initial clothing a naked man who hobbles on crutches. After the death of her husband, Ludwig IV of Thuringia, Elizabeth of Hungary (1207–1231) founded a hospital in Marburg where she also worked. She was celebrated for having administered to the sick, naked, and hungry, and as such was the patron saint of most, if not all, of the Augustinian hospitals from the late Middle Ages.27 Near the end of the manuscript is a single prayer to St Dymphna. These facts suggest that the convent for which the Heverlee manuscript was made had Augustinian sisters and held SS Elizabeth and Dymphna in especial esteem. The dialect points to north Brabant, an area that covers the central swathe of what is now Dutch-speaking Belgium. A few convents are possible, one being that of the Augustinian canonesses dedicated to St Elizabeth in Brussels. These sisters had taken the rule of St Augustine and Elizabeth as their patron saint. Many manuscripts from fifteenth-century canonesses survive, as they were particularly productive book makers. Heverlee 18, however, does not resemble any of the many surviving manuscript from canonesses, either in textual content or decorative style.

Fig.  125  Folio in a prayerbook, with prayers to ‘our holy father’ St Augustine, with an Augustinian sister kneeling before him. Heverlee, Abdij van Park, Ms. 18, fol. 79v.

Fig. 125 Folio in a prayerbook, with prayers to ‘our holy father’ St Augustine, with an Augustinian sister kneeling before him. Heverlee, Abdij van Park, Ms. 18, fol. 79v.

Fig. 126  Folio in a prayerbook, with prayers to St Elisabeth. Heverlee, Abdij van Park, Ms. 18, fol. 85r.

Fig. 126 Folio in a prayerbook, with prayers to St Elisabeth. Heverlee, Abdij van Park, Ms. 18, fol. 85r.

A more likely origin of the manuscript was among the gasthuiszusters, who, like the canonesses, took a vow of the Augustinian order. Unlike the canonesses, they were a working order: ‘gasthuis’ still means hospital in current Dutch, and nurses are still called ‘zusters’. Many towns and cities in the Low Countries had a hospital staffed by gasthuiszusters, including Antwerp, Mechelen, and Geel, which all possessed convents of Augustinians connected to hospitals that took St Elizabeth as their patron. These facts accord with the contents of the Heverlee manuscript, as noted: it is written in a Brabant dialect, calls Augustine ‘our patron’, and possesses a full-length prayer and historiated initial dedicated to Elizabeth. Moreover, the suffrage addressed to St Dymphna makes Geel a likely possibility, since she is the patron saint of Geel and her relics are kept at the church connected with the gasthuiszusters’ convent and hospital in Geel. It is plausible that the manuscript came from this convent, although the Augustinian hospital in Lier is also a possible origin.

If I cautiously accept that the manuscript was made for the Augustinian gasthuiszusters, probably those at Geel, this would shed light on the texts and images in the manuscript. Rather than being a contemplative praying order, as were the Augustinian canonesses who sang the Divine Office daily, the gasthuiszusters were a working order who rolled up their sleeves and worked with the poor, sick, and dying, so it is no surprise that the manuscript also contains instructions to be carried out ‘if one of us sisters dies’, followed by prayers to be read ‘when anyone dies’.28 Certainly, the gasthuiszusters would have to deal on a regular basis with patients who died. Secondly, the manuscript emphasises devotion to the Holy Sacrament, which is not unusual for fifteenth-century manuscripts made for women religious, but here one wonders whether it took on the urgency of spiritual medicine delivered to the sick. The prayer for ‘the glorious feast of the Holy Sacrament’ depicts Christ nearly naked, with his left arm outstretched as if he were still on the Cross (see fig. 123). Whereas the borders of most of the folios are blank, the folio here is decorated with exuberant penwork on all four sides, indicating that this feast day was held in special esteem. Such attention and embellishment may indicate that the Host took on the urgency of spiritual medicine delivered to the sick. Thirdly, several of the historiated initials in the manuscript show a generalised sister who is interacting with an extremely bloodied and wounded Jesus and, by extension, illustrate a high degree of propinquity with the sick, dying, and wounded. One, for example, depicts Jesus releasing his arms from the Cross in order to embrace the woman (fig. 127); this motif puts her in the role of St Gregory, who envisioned Jesus loosening himself from the Cross to embrace him.29 In another image, Christ stands before the sister as he opens his side wound, draining his blood into a chalice that stands on the ground before him (fig. 128). The accompanying prayer begins, ‘Come to me, all of you who labour’ (‘Comt tot mij, alle die daer arbeydende sijt’). The sister, who counts herself among the labourers — those who work with the sick — has indeed come to Jesus in the initial, and kneels before his five open wounds.

Fig. 127  Opening in a prayerbook, with an initial depicting Christ releasing his arms from the cross in order to embrace an Augustinian sister. Heverlee, Abdij van Park, Ms. 18, fol. 137v-138r.

Fig. 127 Opening in a prayerbook, with an initial depicting Christ releasing his arms from the cross in order to embrace an Augustinian sister. Heverlee, Abdij van Park, Ms. 18, fol. 137v-138r.

Fig. 128  Folio in a prayerbook, with an initial depicting Christ opening his side wound in the presence of an Augustinian sister. Heverlee, Abdij van Park, Ms. 18, fol. 109r.

Fig. 128 Folio in a prayerbook, with an initial depicting Christ opening his side wound in the presence of an Augustinian sister. Heverlee, Abdij van Park, Ms. 18, fol. 109r.

The texts in the Heverlee manuscript suggest that it served as a book to which members of the community referred on feast days, when someone died, or when a new woman entered the community. Several texts stress the physicality of Christ and of his presence to the reader, including the Spiritual Bedroom, which addresses a young nun or a prepostulant as she is entering the convent. These Gasthuiszusters Augustinessen may have owned the small manuscript and used it in conjunction with their role as hospital sisters. A nun who appears in it several times probably does not represent a particular nun, but rather ‘everynun’, a generic figure in the garb of the sisters who ran most of the clinics in the Low Countries. The engraved roundels would have saved the book’s maker some time in constructing the pictorial programme. He, or more likely she, was able to assemble some fixed motifs — the Passion sequence — and would undoubtedly have used more of such roundels if they had been available with different images. But the engravers must have been cautious at the end of the fifteenth century, and were more willing to copy existing motifs that they thought would sell, than to forge new motifs at higher risk. The very existence of the engraved roundels changed the way that the book maker executed the painted roundels. Those prints functioned as a motivating design element for the rest of the pictorial programme, as the drawings follow the prints in size, shape, and to some extent their graphic design. The technology of the printed image was adapting to the way people made manuscripts. It is also possible that viewing this manuscript during my own acute medical situation — post-surgical and bandaged — inflected my interpretation of it.

Manuscripts Still Intact

Although the manuscript in Heverlee is a rarity, it demonstrates that not all the late medieval manuscripts containing prints have been dismembered.30 A few examples in collections around Europe, including the British Museum, have made it to our century intact, or nearly intact. One of the most richly illustrated was made in the monastery of St Catherine’s in Nuremberg (London, BM, PD, 1890,1013.54.1–35)31 (e-fig. 108).

BM 1890,1013.54.1–35 — Manuscript from St Catherine’s (e-fig. 108)

Manuscript from St Catherine’s, Nuremberg. London, British Museum, Department of Prints & Drawings, inv. 1890,1013.54.1–35.

Perhaps this managed to escape dismantlement because it entered the collection not in the 1860s but in 1890, after a change of regime and when there was a new ethos about keeping artefacts intact; or possibly it was spared because it was made on parchment, a higher-status material than paper, and the curators were loathe to cut into it. Or perhaps it was spared because it is still in its fifteenth-century binding, although this concern did not stop the knife-wielders from taking Add. 24332 apart.

This manuscript from Nuremberg is fascinating because the parchment sheets have been printed on both sides. That is yet another way in which the technology of single-leaf printing was inflecting the trajectory of the book making process: with no skill in draughtsmanship, someone could produce an image-centred devotional book, which was relentless in its presentation of images. In fact, the images were conceptualized first, and the text had to be fitted around them. Consequently, the scribe had to make adjustments along the way so that the text roughly coordinates with the images. Doing this, however, created many blank pages. An early owner has gone through the book and filled many of these blanks with more texts (what I call quire fillers) so as to make better use of the available space.32 She has also added some more images and notes. Book owners either considered their books precious objects to handle as gingerly as possible, or else they considered them to be repositories for all kinds of devotional detritus. Someone who adds one kind of thing to a book (for example, more prayers) is also likely to add other kinds of things (curtains, more images, objects such as badges, or souvenirs from having taken the Eucharist). The nun owner from Nuremberg of the manuscript now in London was of this second variety.

Other manuscripts in the BM also afford one an opportunity to study prints in their original contexts. One of these is a tiny book made from paper, which has been used so much that the edges of the paper have been eaten away (BM P&D, 158* b 32; fig. 129). This manuscript was probably made in Cologne but, unfortunately, it is too fragile to be photographed further. The one image I shot of it in 2008 shows a roundel depicting St George killing a dragon. Its early user has painted a bold frame around it in red and white, the colours of St George’s banner that crystallised into the English flag, as if to heighten the drama of George’s act while at the same time communicating his national identity. This roundel may have been created as an image for a historiated initial, but this book is so small that it functions as a full-page ‘miniature’ instead.

Fig. 129  Opening in a prayerbook with an added engraving depicting St George. London, British Museum, Department of Prints & Drawings, inv. 158* b 32.

Fig. 129 Opening in a prayerbook with an added engraving depicting St George. London, British Museum, Department of Prints & Drawings, inv. 158* b 32.

Fitting round images into square frames was a challenge for scribes, who were making use of generic printed products that often fitted their particular circumstances rather poorly. That had been the case with the beghards in the mid-1520s, who trimmed Israhel’s D and O initials — apparently intended for use in a large liturgical manuscript — into rectangular pages. Such ill-fitting images would vex other book makers as well.

The owner of a well-worn prayerbook from the Southern Netherlands clipped out a roundel from the apostles series and pasted it into a section of suffrages (Cambridge, Gonville and Caius College, Ms. 718/253; fig. 130).33 Specifically, he or she pasted a roundel into the blank space of folio 366v so that it falls opposite the rubric and prayer to St Matthias. The pasting operation was apparently an afterthought, as the print overlaps the final line of script. However, the rubricator has framed the roundel with the same red as the textual rubrics, suggesting that the print was added between the time the book was copied and when it was rubricated. In some ways, the print serves a similar function as rubrication: they both bring visual interest to the beginnings of texts and underscore the saints to whom the prayers are dedicated.

Fig. 130  Opening in a prayerbook with an added roundel by Israhel van Meckenem. Cambridge, Gonville and Caius College, Ms. 718/253, fols 366v-367r.

Fig. 130 Opening in a prayerbook with an added roundel by Israhel van Meckenem. Cambridge, Gonville and Caius College, Ms. 718/253, fols 366v-367r.

Likewise, the Augustinian canonesses from Soeterbeeck in Deursen near Ravenstein applied Israhel van Meckenem’s prints to unintended functions, in a music manuscript written in shaky, sixteenth-century script. To the lower margin, they have added roundels cut out from Israhel’s ‘Memento mori’ series (fig. 131). (As I mentioned previously, an intact sheet of these survives in the British Library, see e-fig. 84.) Their manuscript was not the right scale to have such large roundels populating historiated initials. To use them as intended would have required that the canonesses rethink the entire layout of their book. However, it appears that they pasted the roundels in as part of the original campaign of work, that they were not an afterthought, for the scribe deliberately left room for them at the bottom of the red-ruled music staves.

Fig. 131  Music manuscript with pasted-in roundels made by Israhel van Meckenem, from Soeterbeeck in Deursen near Ravenstein, a convent of Augustinian canonesses. Nijmegen, Radboud Universiteit, Soeterbeeck Coll. Ms IV 136.

Fig. 131 Music manuscript with pasted-in roundels made by Israhel van Meckenem, from Soeterbeeck in Deursen near Ravenstein, a convent of Augustinian canonesses. Nijmegen, Radboud Universiteit, Soeterbeeck Coll. Ms IV 136.

Just as the beghards had, the makers of Caius 718/253 also had a variety of images available, all from disparate sources. This manuscript was made in the Southern Netherlands and is in Latin (unlike the manuscripts in the vernacular Dutch more common in the northern Netherlands). Although the manuscript contains instructions for a priest (pp. 65–70), it may not have been made for a priest, as it also contains prayers more closely associated with lay piety, such a prayer to one’s guardian angel (pp. 363–65). That it lists St Anne first among the virgins in the litany suggests that the manuscript was inscribed around 1500, when veneration of that saint reached a pinnacle. Whereas the beghards wrote their book in 1500 on paper, the makers of this manuscript chose the more traditional material of parchment, which clashed with the pasted-in prints on paper. The person who removed the prints peeled the paper from the parchment, thereby dividing the book up by material.

Among the images still in the Caius manuscript, one depicts the Virgin of the Sun, which the scribe inserted to fall opposite an indulgenced prayer to the Virgin (fig. 132). This image was made on parchment, which has been inserted into the book block as a page. Although it resembles a hand-coloured print, it is in fact a drawing. Not surprisingly, it has been painted in a completely different palette from the Israhel roundel, because the two types of images had a separate genesis. Perhaps the prints arrived already hand-coloured. It is clear that the scribe had a stack of images — some prints, some drawings — available from the outset and deployed them as she went along.

Fig. 132  Opening in a prayerbook with an added engraving depicting the Virgin of the Sun. Cambridge, Gonville and Caius College, Ms. 718/253, fols 280v-281r.

Fig. 132 Opening in a prayerbook with an added engraving depicting the Virgin of the Sun. Cambridge, Gonville and Caius College, Ms. 718/253, fols 280v-281r.

When it was time to copy a prayer to one’s personal angel, the scribe skipped an entire verso folio for the relevant image (fig. 133). Although someone later tried to remove the image, thereby destroying it, the residue on the page provides some more clues about the design process. This time the print did not fill the entire page but, rather than rule around it, the scribe pasted the image so that it aligned with the top left corner of the frame and treated it as a ‘full-page miniature’, rather than an embedded miniature. Like many solutions that save time or require less skill, this one also wasted more material.

Fig. 133  Opening in a prayerbook with the remains of added engraving, opposite a prayer to a personal angel. Cambridge, Gonville and Caius College, Ms. 718/253, fols 364v-365r.

Fig. 133 Opening in a prayerbook with the remains of added engraving, opposite a prayer to a personal angel. Cambridge, Gonville and Caius College, Ms. 718/253, fols 364v-365r.

A different scribe wrote the text that accompanies a small woodcut depicting St Barbara (fig. 134). In terms of layout and coherence, this experiment might also be deemed a failure. The prayer, added by a scribe using a thick nib and a slight backslant, addresses the Virgin, but the image embedded in the text presents St Barbara. This is yet another case of a scribe using prints that were not perfectly coordinated to the texts. In many of these experiments, the primacy of the two media — script or print — was at odds. Since the scribe apparently did not have another image of the Virgin Mary, she used an image of any virgin, in this case, St Barbara. As with the image presumably depicting an angel (see fig. 133), this one has been partly destroyed by a souvenir-seeker. Like the beghards of 1500, the scribe here has used rubrication as a decorative feature, but has left a wide gap between the image and the text, so that the mise-en-page includes a redundant area of white space.

Fig. 134  Opening in a prayerbook with the remains of added woodcut depicting St Barbara. Cambridge, Gonville and Caius College, Ms. 718/253, fol. 384v-385r.

Fig. 134 Opening in a prayerbook with the remains of added woodcut depicting St Barbara. Cambridge, Gonville and Caius College, Ms. 718/253, fol. 384v-385r.

More images seem to have arrived throughout the attenuated production process, so that one of the users pasted in another print to preface a prayer, the Ave Maria of flowers, at the very end of the Caius book (fig. 135). He or she added this to what was a blank page; although it has since been removed, it left telling traces. The print was silhouetted before it was pasted in, and we can still read the ghostly form as a Virgin and Child, whose head forms an extra blob of clean parchment below her halo.34 It must have been pasted in early in the book’s history, so that it was frequently exposed to heavy handling by one or more users, who left a thick veil of grime across the well-loved opening. In fact, the user may have venerated the Virgin by repeatedly touching the (presumably printed) face, and making a stroking gesture into the textual frame; that would explain why the ghostly image is so clearly defined: because the grime of handling has delimited the edge of the now-absent object. The user has also marked the space beyond the silhouette as venerable by filling it with a prayer to the Virgin, so that the words hug the image and then spill into the opposite opening. He or she has written the text so that it touched the edges of the image, forming a textual aspic around it.

Fig. 135  Opening in a prayerbook with the ghost image of a print probably depicting the Virgin and Child. Cambridge, Gonville and Caius College, Ms. 718/253, fol. 406v-407r.

Fig. 135 Opening in a prayerbook with the ghost image of a print probably depicting the Virgin and Child. Cambridge, Gonville and Caius College, Ms. 718/253, fol. 406v-407r.

Inscribed around the absent Virgin, the prayer text bears conceptual similarities to the mixed and matched images. I have not been able to find the entire prayer text in one place, and it may be a cento, a text comprising quotations from other sources. For example, the first two and the last two lines come from a rosary devotion, but not in consecutive order:

Pia christifera, mea mater, virgo Maria,

Celi regina, radians dietatis alumna.

Nam tibi nil negitat, qui matrem semper honorat,

Alma valeto parens, michi crebra charismata mittens.35

The two central lines, written near the hem of the Virgin’s dress, come from a different source. It is as if the writer had cut and pasted a favourite image, but also favourite lines of text, so that the entire devotion consists of pre-existing parts re-arranged on the page.

Examining Caius 718/253 reveals that its construction had been a group effort; that the makers had a variety of prints available; and that they made do with the prints they had, but that their placement sometimes defied logic or resulted in an awkward composition. They may not have had much agency in selecting which images they wanted, but may instead have received images as gifts, which would explain the variety of subjects, origins, and scales. It is also clear that they acquired at least one engraving by Israhel and incorporated this as best they could. With his enormous output, and his obvious attempts to target book makers as buyers for his wares, it is not surprising that many manuscripts do indeed contain engravings by this maker.

Israhel van Meckenem as a Master of Self-Promotion

Israhel was marketing prints along trade routes that other printmakers were also traversing, and there was much cross-fertilisation between makers. Israhel successfully created a new kind of object — the instant historiated initial and instant miniature — and then set about creating a new market for that object. In the process, he promoted himself so successfully that his brand was still in demand in the nineteenth century. I proposed earlier that his prints filled many of the now-empty roundels in the beghards’ manuscript of 1500. They apparently bought so many of his prints that they were still using them thirty years later. He made sheets that could specifically be cut apart. To deploy them as instant initials, one had to dismember them. That is how the beghards used the Israhel roundels in 1500 and again in the mid-1520s.

Israhel must have had a second function for the sheets of roundels in mind from the beginning (see e-figs. 6, 7, 65, 84, 90). He signed them, but only in the blank space between the roundels, which suggests that he made the sheets as collectors’ items: their authorship is only documented when the sheet is left intact. They retain a function as collector’s items as long as they are not cut apart and used, a process that means discarding the signature. And that signature is so ornate! Unlike some of his contemporaries who sign their prints in the plate with a letter or monogram in a simple serif initial, Israhel extends the finials top and bottom, looping them into a frame of liquid lines. He also uses a letter variety that imitates a courtly display script, with a strong differentiation between thick and thin, and letters built from compound ‘strokes’, although of course the lines have been made with a burin, not a pen nib. His signature, on a sheet with roundels, for example, could be characterised as a skeuomorph (e-fig. 65). Here, engraving imitates courtly display script. That Israhel purposely promoted himself is also clear from the volume of his signatures, plastering his entire name or his initials on hundreds of his productions. An extension of this is the putative self-portrait he made, which he also signed.36 A virtuoso rendering of curling beard, tightly bound turban, sagging, veined skin; this image projects a man desperately serious about his craft, and purposeful about guaranteeing his fame.

And make his mark he did. In addition to giving the world what is essentially clip art, Israhel helped to shift how manuscripts were made. Much of what I have discussed in this book has involved low-end production, manuscripts made by and for cloistered religious. But Israhel also changed how a luxury manuscript might be made.

Sloane Ms. 3981 in the British Museum is a manuscript book of hours with prints made by Israhel pasted into it, but it shows an entirely different conceptualization of manuscript and print from the other examples featured so far.37 When I first viewed this manuscript on 6 July 2007, I realised that neither the manuscript nor the prints it contains are ordinary. The modern binding encloses a slim volume of 71 folios on parchment measuring 166 x 241 millimetres (with a text block of 158 x 99), which means that it is much larger than most books of hours. Its images were planned into this project from the beginning: the book maker had created a large book in order to accommodate the twelve engravings by Israhel in his Large Passion series (1897.0103.1–12). The manuscript contains the following texts and images:

1r–3v:

full calendar inscribed in two columns, in red, black, with blue titles;

4r–10v:

Gospel readings, beginning with In principio, and followed by two prayers;

10v–12r:

verses of St Gregory, rubric in French, seven-verse version, followed by forms of confession (in French);

12v:

blank, ruled;

13r:

full-page, pasted-in print: Christ washing the feet of the Apostles (1897,0103.1);

13v:

Hours of the Cross, abbreviated (only the beginning of Matins and the end of Compline), no rubric;

14r:

full-page, pasted-in print: Arrest of Christ (1897.0103.2);

14v:

Hours of the Holy Spirit, abbreviated;

15r:

full-page, pasted-in print: Christ before Annas (1897,0103.3; fig. 136);

15v:

Hours of the Virgin, for the use of Rome, Matins;

19r:

full-page, pasted-in print: The Crowning with Thorns (1897,0103.4);

19v-23r:

Lauds;

23v:

full-page, pasted-in print: Flagellation (1897,0103.5);

24r–25v:

Prime;

26r:

full-page, pasted-in print: Ecce Homo (1897,0103.6);

26v–28r:

Terce;

28v:

full-page, pasted-in print: Christ before Pilate, and Pilate washing his hands (1897,0103.7);

29r–30v:

Sext;

31r:

full-page, pasted-in print: Christ carrying the Cross (1897,0103.8);

31v–33r:

Nones;

33v:

full-page, pasted-in print: Christ awaiting crucifixion in the foreground, with the Crucifixion in the background (1897,0103.9; fig. 137);

34r–36v:

Vespers;

37r:

full-page, pasted-in print: Lamentation (1897,0103,10);

37v–42r:

Compline;

42r–44v:

Variations for the Office of the Virgin, to be said during Advent at Vespers and at other times of the liturgical year;

45r:

full-page, pasted-in print: Resurrection (1897,0103,11);

45v–51r:

Seven Penitential Psalms and Litany;

51v:

full-page, pasted-in print: Christ at Emmaus (1897,0103,12);

52r–68v:

Vigil of the Dead;

69r/v:

blank, ruled;

70:

former paste-down.

Studying this list of contents reveals several things. First, its maker conceptualized the whole book as an album to showcase the twelve prints by Israhel. One can perceive that the scribe worked out which texts to use according to how many images were available. He or she started by organising them around the text central to the book, the Hours of the Virgin. It has eight canonical hours, and the scribe has used one print to preface each. This left four prints. One was used to mark the Penitential Psalms and one to mark the Vigil of the Dead, leaving two prints. In order to absorb these into the book’s design without expanding its contents too much, the scribe wrote extremely short editions of the Hours of the Cross and the Hours of the Holy Spirit, each reduced to less than a page in length. One print prefaces each, meaning that all twelve prints have been deployed. The scribe has used the prints so that the twelve scenes unfold in chronological order through the book, even though the scenes are not those that usually preface their respective texts. It is as if the scribe were building an appropriate showcase for the twelve prints by giving them a contemplative religious framework. Some of these appear on the left side of the opening — the side that nearly all full-page miniatures were designed to fall on — but others were placed on the right side of the opening. In the case of Christ before Annas, the scribe has left nine lines of the previous folio blank, in his ultra-short version of the Hours of the Holy Spirit, in order to provide a text for the image, if not one that is immediately related. In the logic of this organisation, the image prefaces the Hours of the Virgin rather than the Hours of the Holy Spirit. The copyist has struggled to make the organisation logical because the texts are so short and the images so large, yielding a book that falls out of normal proportions for an illustrated book of hours. It is clear that the size of the prints — the largest Passion that Israhel made — has determined the scale of the entire project.38

Fig. 136  Opening in a book of hours, featuring a mounted engraving by Israhel van Meckenem depicting Christ before Annas. London, British Museum, Department of Prints & Drawings, inv. 1897,0103.3, also known as London, British Library, Sloane Ms. 3981, fols 14v-15r.

Fig. 136 Opening in a book of hours, featuring a mounted engraving by Israhel van Meckenem depicting Christ before Annas. London, British Museum, Department of Prints & Drawings, inv. 1897,0103.3, also known as London, British Library, Sloane Ms. 3981, fols 14v-15r.

Fig. 137  Opening in a book of hours, featuring a mounted engraving by Israhel van Meckenem depicting Christ awaiting crucifixion. London, British Museum, Department of Prints & Drawings, inv. 1897,0103.9, also known as London, British Library, Sloane Ms. 3981, fols 33v-34r.

Fig. 137 Opening in a book of hours, featuring a mounted engraving by Israhel van Meckenem depicting Christ awaiting crucifixion. London, British Museum, Department of Prints & Drawings, inv. 1897,0103.9, also known as London, British Library, Sloane Ms. 3981, fols 33v-34r.

In this series Israhel used the large surface area to multiply the points of interest. He has saturated the foreground, middle ground, and background of the images with commotion. Human activities occur inside and out, framed by doors and passageways, perceived as near and far. They divide up the composition into different temporal moments.39 In so designing them, Israhel has ensured that the images are worthy of sustained absorption. He has also signed each of these engravings at front centre, in some cases showing the letters IM as if they were embedded in the floor tiles and receding.

Whereas in most books of hours, the images form colourful splashes to break up a black-and-white expanse of text, in this book, the images are left monochrome. The book maker seems to have realised that the busy engravings were best left in a naked state, and that painting them would only obscure the myriad printed lines. Instead, colour dances through the borders, first with a gold ‘frame’, which is then outlined with blue, brown, or green. These elaborate frames resemble polished marble, thereby introducing another precious substance into the book that causes one to question the material.

Inscribed with an even script, leaning towards a courtly bâtarde, the book has been carefully executed. Given that the rubrics are in French, the project was probably carried out for a French speaker who had come into possession of the entire large Passion series in the 1470s. Multiply produced, in black and white, on inexpensive paper, the engravings have motivated the construction of this entire exquisite object, buttressed with parchment and gold and high-quality hand-crafted labour. The book of hours has bent to the design of the prints.

The most astonishing of the manuscripts that use Israhel’s prints as an underlying layer is BnF, Ms. Lat. 1173, known as the Hours of Charles d’Angoulême. It not only contains hand-coloured prints by Israhel but also drawings or miniatures made after prints by him.40 Duplessis, in his Essais sur la gravure dans les livres (Paris, 1879), saw Lat. 1173 as a collaboration between engravers and miniaturists. When the manuscript was shown in the Exposition des Primitifs Français of 1904, it was dated 1464 on the basis of computational tables on folio 52v.41 While the manuscript is a prodigy, it is not as early as that, but was made around 1480. It is enhanced with miniatures, including Pentecost (fol. 17v), a danse champêtre (fol. 20v), the Judgement of Solomon (fo. 34v), and a fight between the Centaures and the Lapiths at the beginning of the office of the dead (fol. 41v). This highly unusual imagery can be explained by the fact that the illuminator was copying motifs by Israhel. Additionally, the book contains seventeen engravings by Israhel van Meckenem, which have been carefully painted over. Three additional images have been attributed to Jean Bourdichon: the Nativity (fol. 9v), the Adoration (fol. 22v), and the Purification (fol. 24v). Thus, even though the book’s imagery has its roots in a mechanically reproduced genre associated with low-skilled practitioners, it is in fact a virtuoso performance.

Conclusions: Some Assembly Required

The media historian Friedrich Kittler said something important about new technology: it is not technology that bends and adapts to human needs, but rather humans that bend to conform to new technology.42 Once the typewriter had been invented, for example, people simply had to use it. Now there are no writers I know who have not adjusted their writing style to meet the needs of the computer. Likewise, once the printed image was available, it was impossible to ignore. Book makers took it up as a way to ‘save labour’, which is nearly always synonymous with saving money. A consequence of printing is that it concentrated craft skill in the hands of a few, such as Israhel, and led to the mass redundancy of scribes and miniaturists.

Prints changed the very processes and order of operations of book making. In one scenario, a printmaker could produce a series of prints, which would yield images in sequence to form a booklet, which would provide the structure around which text could be added.43 In a quite different scenario, someone could glue a loose print into a finished manuscript. In the first example, the images are primary, and the text is fitted around a series of matched prints. In the second situation, a manuscript is written and completed, and prints added as an embellishment, as an afterthought.

Add. 24332 presents a third situation: someone who has access to a wide variety of prints, is purchasing them in groups that are pre-coloured, and fitting them into a manuscript as the writing progresses, sometimes silhouetting the prints, sometimes cutting out roundels to form historiated initials, sometimes trimming rectangular prints to form column miniatures, and sometimes incorporating the entire printed sheet into the binding and writing on the other side. A picture could dominate an entire page or occupy only a corner of it, and the text would have to fill in the gaps. In this situation the copyist adjusts the images to meet the needs of the text, and adjusts the layout of the text in response to the available images. This option had not yet been fully analysed in the scholarship. It is only close observation of entire books — handwritten texts next to printed images — that reveals it.

According to this third scenario, manuscript books accommodated the new technology of single-leaf prints by inverting the normal primacy of the word in manuscript production. When manuscripts were made in the old way (say, before 1390, when the Masters of the Pink Canopies began creating single-leaf miniatures to be inserted into books of hours), there was a division of labour, but generally a copyist would write the words on a page and leave spaces so that an illuminator could add the images. The text and its placement dictated page design, so that new texts would be signalled by large initials. Previously, all decoration emanated from initials, but in manuscripts with pasted-in prints, the printed images dictated the design, and the words had to be fitted in around the fixed pictures.

In the decades following 1390, the work of the copyist became further separated (in terms of labour, skills, materials) from that of the illuminator, and books of hours (a driving force in innovating ever cheaper and ever more elaborately illuminated books) were increasingly written in such a way that the labour of image-making was separate from word-writing, and that pictures could be added to books later, and then continually, in stages.44 Using a version of this new model around 1500, the beghard copyist might have been both writing the book and also ‘illustrating’ it by selecting and placing the images. In some ways, the roles of the copyist had expanded: she or he would now be a writer, designer, and illuminator. This also meant that the role of the manuscript illuminator was shrinking, or changing. The act of making and illuminating a manuscript was an act in the service of God, and paying for the same was also performing such service. But was pasting prints into a book as sacred an act, even if the goal were similar (an illuminated book)? One wonders.

Following a significant rise from 1440–1465 in the number of manuscripts written, there was a sharp and steady fall in manuscript production. It is likely that the surge in books available — printed books made in the era of movable type — briefly stimulated the production of manuscripts, so that for a short period after the printing press was introduced around 1450 more, not fewer manuscripts were made. In fact, the largest number of surviving manuscripts was made in the fifteenth century, many of them after 1450. But then the number of manuscripts quickly dropped as the number of prints soared.45 Scribes and miniaturists simply became obsolete. The expanding number of readers instigated the invention of the printing press, just as much as the press multiplied the number of potential readers. Readers and printers formed a spiral of self-reinforcing genesis that implicated manuscript makers in the early years of its maelstrom. A second implication of this new technology was that some copyists were as likely to have a printed as a manuscript exemplar to copy out by hand. For example, a manuscript in Ghent made at St Luciendaal was copied in 1500 from a printed exemplar and then (probably) bound by the beghards.46 That printing (meaning movable-type printing of entire books) stimulated the technology that it was simultaneously displacing is certainly a weird twist of history.47 A third implication was that the production of single-leaf prints also facilitated the illustration of manuscripts that a few decades earlier might have been unembellished.

As this study has shown, the trend from script to print is neither simple nor linear. The beghards’ bindery and library were destroyed after the Napoleonic invasion, and the books dispersed before a catalogue was drawn up, so their holdings cannot be fully reconstructed. In one of the many antiquarian publications about the archives of Maastricht, there is a reference to a book that had gone missing shortly before 1893. It refers to ‘een ritual van het klooster der Begaarden te Maastricht. Handschrift in folio, in drukletters geschreven, in het laatste der vorige eeuw. Het bevat onder meer, het ceremonieel der inkleeding’ (a ritual from the convent of the beghards in Maastricht. Manuscript in folio, written in block letters, at the end of the previous century. It contains, among other things, the ceremony of taking the habit).48 As the book is now missing, one can only rely on this brief notice for proof of its existence, which describes a manuscript copy of a ritual from the end of the seventeenth century. As for the beghards, it is not clear that they ever switched entirely to printed books, at least for ceremonial volumes such as this one. Although they were early adopters of print technology, they apparently continued to create manuscripts until the very last, defying Kittler’s claim. At some level, the manuscript must have fulfilled ritual functions that print could not. In the period of print, manuscripts continued to be made but took on more specific cultural functions.

Reconstructing the beghards’ first manuscript with prints (Add. 24332) reveals one of the most highly illustrated books of hours made around 1500, and provides insight into the organisation of information at that time, since the manuscript – originally comprehending more than 500 folios – is unusual for its table of contents as well as its elaborate calendar with finding aids. Although pasting prints into manuscripts was clearly a widespread practice, we have sparse evidence for exactly how prints were incorporated into pre-1500 manuscripts, since collectors in the nineteenth century commonly removed them; however, most of the early prints that have survived into the twenty-first century have done so precisely because they were protected among the leaves of manuscripts. Ironically, the practice that allowed the prints to be preserved in the first place is so little understood because the prints were stripped of this context by eager collectors, private and institutional alike.

In the process of reassembling Add. 24332, Add. 41338, Add. 31001, and Add. 31002, I realised that the British Museum had bought several manuscripts in the nineteenth century that contained prints. As I have explained, some of those prints ended up in the prints department, and the protective manuscript in the manuscripts department, which was later transferred to the British Library. Having built a database to help with the process of reconstruction, I was able to apply it to several other manuscripts. The curators suggested that I do an exhibition on the fourth-floor prints gallery at the British Museum. I secured funding for the catalogue, talked to the curators at the British Library about lending the manuscripts so that they could be shown alongside the vast number of prints that had been removed from them, and selected 24 mattes that would enable me to tell this story. Anthony Griffiths, then Head of the Department of Prints and Drawings, rejected the proposal. Off the record, other insiders told me that if I rewrote it to gloss over the fact that the British Museum had cut up their own manuscripts, I might be able to do the exhibition elsewhere.

In the decade I spent writing this book, technology was changing under my feet, faster than it had during the nineteenth century when the second wave of knifework began. Whereas the amateur gentlemen German scholars of yesteryear had trust funds, index cards, and a wife, I have immigrant grit, an electronic spreadsheet, and a microwave, and, during my thirteen years of work, the digital camera became an increasingly important research tool. In effect, I am recreating objects with digital means, which allows me to make interpretations about the manufacturing of early modern books. To reconstruct these books is its own research problem, and tells one about the books’ origins and functions. These pages address two sets of questions, one about undertaking research, the other about close noticing: one about methodology and the other about content.

When I started, the BL did not permit hand-held photography in the reading rooms. I wasted hundreds of hours returning to the British Library to study Add. 24332, Add. 31001, Add. 31002, and Add. 41338 all before the managers changed the rules and allowed photography. Complete snapshots of these manuscripts would have saved me months of time and thousands of pounds in travel, and I would have burned considerably less aviation fuel. Add. 31002, and Add. 41338 are ‘select’ manuscripts and still may not be photographed in the reading room, even with the new rules. The professional images I had made of Add. 41338 cost hundreds of pounds. I simply could not afford to order extensive images from Add. 31002 to build a database to show exactly which images had been removed from which folios, and furthermore, as I said, the puzzle of reconstructing it is not difficult enough to hold my interest, since their accession numbers match their original sequence in the manuscript. I leave that project to a wealthy MA/MLitt student who needs a circumscribed thesis subject.

Although this study has been qualitative, one can imagine the benefits of assembling all of the pre-1500 prints into a single database, including those that are loose and those still in manuscripts, to assemble the most complete possible record of single-leaf prints in Western Europe. Computers would certainly extend the relational possibilities among and between prints, makers, collectors, manuscript projects, and albums, and may allow some statistical analyses to be carried out, despite the risk that the static caused by the gaps in the record might overwhelm the signal. However, for this project I focussed on the research unit defined as the ‘individual manuscript with its prints pasted into it’, as well as ‘the journey that a large, open-ended research project entails’. Perhaps a quantitative study will be appropriate in about ten years.

This project took me a decade and cost me thousands of dollars, euros, and pounds, mostly in travel. I hope these results can show us something about how innovation took place in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century. In writing it this way, I endeavoured to show what archive-intensive art history research looks like now. Here is one conclusion: there is a big disjunction between how art-historical research is funded and how that research really takes place. You cannot ask a funding body to give you 35 plane tickets to London so that you can work in your spare time. I would have had to sell an organ to pay for the digitization of the prints at the BM, and the project would therefore have been impossible had the BM not undertaken a mass digitization project. Most funding is intended for projects that are easily contained (a monograph about a particular manuscript, or a catalogue raisonné about an identifiable artist whose works are all held in three collections). In reality, most available funding for projects comes only at the very end, when you already know what the results will be, and after you have already invested countless hours in it. By the time the funding comes, you need it to maintain your car and pay your council tax bill, and it is hardly a drop in the bucket. Nonetheless, the funding is important, because it is the imprimatur of your council of peers before publication. It is one of the few forms of validation in academia.

My entire journey was set in motion by a photograph in a cabinet at the Warburg. Finding the documentary photograph of St Barbara was a clue to new processes, where I undid the work of the nineteenth-century collectors to reveal manuscripts and to show why those collectors wanted Israhel van Meckenem, whose work was widely circulated, branded, and so well-known that his fame has lasted for five centuries, even though his entire output was made on flimsy paper. In addition to printing his fame, Israhel, together with collaborators across Northern Europe, had created clip art, which beghards in Maastricht used to great profit. It gave the beghards the sense that they could ‘create’ imagery far beyond their ability to draw it. Their books anticipate Synthetic Cubism and even the Readymade. To create was to select and place objects, to make small changes where necessary, with red or black ink or even with a knife.


1 Robert Priebsch, Deutsche Handschriften in England. 2 vols (Erlangen: Fr. Junge, 1896–1901), vol. II, no. 186; Ursula Weekes, Early Engravers and Their Public, pp. 145–50, 157, 159.

2 Kathryn M. Rudy, ‘Manuscripts from Zutphen, Lamb of God roundels, and a new iconography of penance’, special issue of Quaerendo 41 dedicated to Prof. Dr. Jos Hermans, ed. by Jos Biemans and Anne Korteweg (2011), pp. 360–72.

3 The three engravings depicting Our Lady of Einsiedeln, made by the Master ES in 1466, provide examples. The Swiss monastery commissioned the prints as part of their jubilee celebration. See Landau and Parshall, The Renaissance Print, p. 49. Convent sisters may have also commissioned prints with particular subjects, especially those communicating their corporate identity, for which see the various studies by Weekes. Margaret of Austria apparently commissioned a print on parchment depicting St Margaret as a shepherdess, for which see Rudy, Postcards on Parchment, pp. 91–98.

4 Rudy, ‘Manuscripts from Zutphen’.

5 As explained earlier, there are 231+5 prints in this group, five of them denoted by an asterisk in order to correspond with Andersen’s article.

6 I first wrote about these prints in Kathryn M. Rudy, Virtual Pilgrimages in the Convent: Imagining Jerusalem in the Late Middle Ages ed. Isabelle Cochelin and Susan Boynton, Disciplina Monastica, vol. 8 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2011), pp. 175–92; and 399–410, which includes a description of Add. 31001.

7 Ulla Sander Olsen, ‘Handschriften en Boeken uit het Birgittinessenklooster Maria Troon te Dendermonde’, in Spiritualia Neerlandica. Opstellen voor Dr. Albert Ampe S. J. hem door Vakgenoten en Vrienden Aangeboden uit Waardering voor zijn Wetenschappelijk Werk, ed. E. Cockcx-Indestege, Ons Geestelijk Erf (Antwerp: Universitaire Faculteiten Sint-Ignatius te Antwerpen Ruusbroecgenotschap (Centrum voor Spiritualiteit), 1990), pp. 389–406.

8 Ulla Sander Olsen, ‘Handschriften uit het Birgittinessenklooster Mariënwater te Rosmalen bij ’s-Hertogenbosch,’ in W. Verbeke, ed., Serta devota in memoriam Guillelmi Lourdaux (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 1992–1995 = Mediaevalia Lovaniensia, Series I, Studia 20–21), vol. II, pp. 225–54.

9 Stooker and Verbeij, vol. II, p. 358–59, no. 1069.

10 I am grateful to Clarck Drieshen, who generously shared his notes regarding the Dominican references in Add. 31001 when we met in London in October 2017.

11 For a fuller discussion of this prayer and the images, see Rudy, Virtual Pilgrimages in the Convent: Imagining Jerusalem in the Late Middle Ages, pp. 177–83.

12 See E. Weis-Liebersdorf, Das Jubeljahr 1500 in der Augsburger Kunst (Munich: Algemeine Verlaggesellschaft, 1901), passim; and Gisela Goldberg, ed, Altdeutsche Gemälde, Staatsgalerie Augsburg Städtische Kunstsammlungen, Bd. 1 (Munich: Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, 1988), 69–76 and 129–58, with further bibliography; and Gisela Goldberg, ‘‘Peregrinatio, quam vocant Romana’: Miscellanea zu Stellvertreterstätten römischer Hauptkirchen’, in Wallfahrt kennt keine Grenzen, ed. Lenz Kriss-Rettenbeck and Gerda Mohler, (exh. cat, Munich: Bayerisches Nationalmuseum) (Munich: Schnell & Steiner, 1984), pp. 346–51; Marie-Luise Ehrenschwendtner, ‘Virtual Pilgrimages? Enclosure and the Practice of Piety at St Katherine’s Convent, Augsburg’, Journal of Ecclesiastical History 60, no. 1 (2009), pp. 45–73; Magdalene Gärtner, Römische Basiliken in Augsburg: Nonnenfrömmigkeit und Malerei um 1500 (Augsburg: Wissner, 2002). On virtual pilgrimage more generally, see Kathryne Beebe, ‘The Jerusalem of the Mind’s Eye: Imagined Pilgrimage in the Late Fifteenth Century’, in Visual Constructs of Jerusalem ed. Bianca Kühnel, Galit Noga-Banai, and Hanna Vorholt (Turnhout: Brepols, 2014), pp. 409–20; Rudy, Virtual Pilgrimages in the Convent: Imagining Jerusalem in the Late Middle Ages.

13 For the indulgences available to pilgrims, real and virtual, see Nine Miedema, ‘“Geestelike rijckdom”: over pelgrimsreizen en aflaten in de Middeleeuwen’, Een school spierinkjes: Kleine opstellen over middelnederlandse artes-literatuur, ed. W. P. Gerritsen, Annelies van Gijsen, and Orlanda S. H. Lie (Hilversum: Verloren, 1991), pp. 123–26; and N. C. Kist, ‘De aflaten der zeven kerken van Rome’, Archief voor kerkelijke Geschiedenis van Nederland 6 (1835), pp. 303–18.

14 François Courboin, Catalogue Sommaire des Gravures et Lithogrphies composant la Réserve, Bibliothèque Nationale, département des Estampes, 2 vols (Paris, 1900–01), no. 614; Bouchot 140; Schreiber 2716.

15 Lepape and Rudy, Les Origines de l’Estampe, p. 137.

16 Rudy, Postcards on Parchment, pp. 1–17 and passim.

17 See Aden Kumler, ‘The Multiplication of the Species: Eucharistic Morphology in the Middle Ages’, Res 59/60 (2011), pp. 179–91; and Kathryn Rudy, ‘Sewing the Body of Christ: Eucharist Wafer Souvenirs Stitched into Fifteenth-century Manuscripts, Primarily in the Netherlands’, Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Art 8, 1 (Winter 2016), Article 1 (48 pages).

18 I discuss this distinction in ibid, pp. 14–15 and passim.

19 For a discussion of this print in the context of other engravings printed on parchment in the region of Cologne, see Weekes, Early Engravers and Their Public, pp. 67–69.

20 For this assessment, I am indebted to a conversation with Ad Stijnman.

21 For a full description of the contents, see Maria Meertens, De Godsvrucht in De Nederlanden. naar Handschriften van Gebedenboeken der XVe Eeuw, 6 vols. ([n.p.]: Standaard Boekhandel, 1930–1934), vol. VI, cat. 833bis. Meerten’s foliation does not correspond to the current foliation. Although she recognised that the manuscript came from Augustinian nuns in North Brabant, she did not localise it to Geel. See also Kathryn Rudy, ‘How to Prepare the Bedroom for the Bridegroom’, in Frauen--Kloster--Kunst: Neue Forschungen zur Kulturgeschichte des Mittelalters: Beiträge zum Internationalen Kolloquium vom 13. bis 16. Mai 2005 anlässlich der Ausstellung ‘Krone und Schleier’, ed. Jeffrey F. Hamburger, Carola Jaeggi, and Hedwig Röckelein (Turnhout: Brepols, 2007), pp. 369–75.

22 Meertens, De godsvrucht in de Nederlanden, cat. 833bis.

23 Rudy, ‘How to Prepare the Bedroom for the Bridegroom’.

24 St Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek, Codex Sangallensis 479. German prayerbook, manuscript on paper, octavo, 227 folios. See Gustav Scherrer, Verzeichniss der Handschriften der Stiftsbibliothek von St. Gallen (Halle: Verlag der Buchhandlung des Waisenhauses, 1875; reissued Hildesheim; New York: Georg Olms Verlag, 1975), p. 154.

25 Marlene Villalobos Hennessy. ‘The Social Life of a Manuscript Metaphor: Christ’s Blood as Ink’. In The Social Life of Illumination: Manuscripts, Images, and Communities in the Late Middle Ages, ed. by Joyce Coleman, Mark Cruse and Kathryn A. Smith. Medieval Texts and Cultures of Northern Europe (Turnhout: Brepols, 2013), pp. 17–52, Pl. xvii.

26 Gasthuiszusters Augustinessen, also called Zwartzusters, operated hospitals in Leuven, Antwerp, and Mechelen, and in many other towns in the Low Countries. Their libraries and visual culture (except for the besloten hofjes, or enclosed gardens, made in Mechelen) have not been studied.

27 In addition to acting as patron of most hospitals, St Elizabeth was also the patron saint of the Franciscan Tertiaries. See a leaf depicting her among the Tertiaries, Krone und Schleier: Kunst aus mittelalterlichen Frauenklöstern. Exh. cat, Essen, Ruhrlandmuseum: Die frühen Klöster und Stifte 500-1200/Bonn, Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle: Die Zeit der Orden 1200–1500, ed. Jeffrey Hamburger, Robert Suckale, et al. (Essen; Bonn, 2005), cat. 250.

28 Compare the Agenda mortuorum from the late fifteenth century and the mid-sixteenth century, written at the Mariënpoel Convent outside Leiden, described in Truus van Bueren, with W. C. M. Wüstefeld, Leven na de dood. Gedenken in de late Middeleeuwen, [exh. cat, Utrecht, Museum het Catharijneconvent] (Turnhout: Brepols, 1999), 189, cat. 54, and 50–51, where the ceremonies surrounding the death of a convent sister are discussed. Namely, all the members in the convent, as well as a priest, became involved in the ritual surrounding a sick sister’s passing.

29 Caroline Walker Bynum, ‘Formen weiblicher Frömmigkeit im späteren Mittelalter’, in Krone und Schleier: Kunst aus mittelalterlichen Frauenklöstern (exh. cat, Ruhrlandmuseum, Essen; and Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle, Bonn, 2005), pp. 118–29.

30 Jan van der Stock’s catalogue of early prints in Brussels is unique in that he combined prints preserved in the Department of Prints, with those still in manuscripts and preserved in the Department of Manuscripts. Essentially, he was erasing a false distinction between these categories. Jan van der Stock, Early Prints: The Print Collection of the Royal Library of Belgium. Print Collection of the Royal Library of Belgium (London: Harvey Miller Publishers, 2002).

31 In addition to the BM accession numbers assigned to the prints, this manuscript as a whole also has a shelf number: London, BM, 158* b.3. See Schmidt, Gedruckte Bilder, pp. 66–69, with further examples of related books.

32 I discuss quire fillers in Piety in Pieces.

33 Nigel J. Morgan, and Stella Panayotova, eds., Illuminated Manuscripts in Cambridge: A Catalogue of Western Book Illumination in the Fitzwilliam Museum and the Cambridge Colleges. Part One: The Frankish Kingdoms, the Netherlands, Germany, Bohemia, Hungary and Austria, 2 vols (London: Harvey Miller, in conjunction with the Modern Humanities Research Association, 2009), cat. 188, pp. 122–23.

34 For related examples, see Peter Schmidt, Gedruckte Bilder in handgeschriebenen Büchern 2003, figs. 136–39.

35 Guido Maria Dreves, ed., Analecta Hymnica Medii Aevi, 54 vols. (Leipzig: Fues’s Verlag, 1854–1932), vol. 48 (1905), pp. 533–34, nr. 503 (10). I am indebted to Jan Waszink for identifying this text and for noticing how its compiled nature conceptually mirrors the approach to selecting and gluing images into the book.

36 The signed self-portrait of Israhel van Meckenem is one of the most frequently reproduced images by the engraver. It appears, for example, on the front cover of Achim Riether, Israhel Van Meckenem (um 1440/45-1503): Kupferstiche - Der Münchner Bestand [Katalog zur Ausstellung der Staatlichen Graphischen Sammlung München, Pinakothek der Moderne, 14. September - 26. November 2006] (Munich: Staatliche Graphische Sammlung, 2006).

37 Before it came into the Sloane collection, the manuscript was owned by P. Giffart (whose coat of arms is three naked female busts) and was sold in Paris in 1746. The manuscript, confusingly, has several signatures. Besides being called Sloane Ms. 3981, it is also has the BM P&D signature 158 b 1* or B.vi.206.10–21. Furthermore, the BM P&D assigned each of the prints of the Large Passion (1897.0103.1–12) a separate number.

38 Alan Shestack, Fifteenth Century Engravings of Northern Europe from the National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 1967), cat. 182–94.

39 For an intriguing approach to understanding relationships between depicted space and time, see Alfred Acres, ‘The Columba Altarpiece and the Time of the World’, The Art Bulletin 80, no. 3 (1998), pp. 422–51.

40 Anne Matthews, ‘The Use of Prints in the Hours of Charles d’Angoulême’, Print Quarterly 3, no. 1 (1986), pp. 4–18. Earlier in the twentieth century, André Blum, ‘Des Rapports de Miniaturistes Français du XVe Siècle avec les Premiers Artistes Graveurs’, Revue de l’Art Chrétien LXI (1911), pp. 357–69, discussed this manuscript and reproduced some of its imagery.

41 André Malraux, Jean Porcher, and Sheila Browne, Les Manuscrits à Peintures en France du XIIIe au XVIe Siècle [Catalogue d’une Exposition à Paris en 1955–1956] (Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale, 1955), p. 162, no. 343; Victor Leroquais, Les Livres d’Heures Manuscrits de la Bibliothèque Nationale, 2 vols, plus a supplement (Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale, 1927–1929, suppl. Mâcon: Protat, 1943), vol. I, pp. 104–08, no. 38, Pl. XCII-XCV. Paris, BnF, Ms. lat. 1173, manuscript on parchment, 115 fol, 215x155 mm. Hours for the Use of Paris, made for Charles de Valois, comte d’Angoulême, father of François Ier. His name is given in an acrostic on fol. 53.

42 Friedrich Kittler, Dorothea von Mücke, and Philippe L. Similon, ‘Gramophone, Film, Typewriter’, October 41, (1987), pp. 101–18.

43 Ursula Weekes has done detective work to show how such booklets were manufactured, in Early Engravers and their Public, pp. 88–93, as has Peter Schmidt, Gedruckte Bilder in handgeschriebenen Büchern, pp. 66–69 and passim.

44 This is the argument in Rudy, Piety in Pieces.

45 Several scholars have recently measured the rise of print and its effect on the demise of manuscript, including Uwe Neddermeyer, ‘Why Were There no Riots of the Scribes? First Results of a Quantitative Analysis of the Book Production in the Century of Gutenberg,’ Gazette du livre médiéval 31 (1997), 1–8; Hanno Wijsman, ‘Handschriften und gedruckte Bücher: der Wandel der Europäischen Buchkultur im 15. Jahrhundert’, in: Christine Beier (ed.), Geschichte der Buchkultur 5.1: Gotik, Graz: Akademische Druck- und Verlagsanstalt/ADEVA, 2016, pp. 97–114; Hanno Wijsman, ‘Une bataille perdue d’avance? Les manuscrits après l’introduction de l’imprimerie dans les anciens Pays-Bas’, in Books in Transition at the Time of Philip the Fair: Manuscripts and Printed Books in the Late Fifteenth and Early Sixteenth Century Low Countries, ed. by Hanno Wijsman, with the collaboration of Ann Kelders and Susie Speakman Sutch. Burgundica, 15 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2010), pp. 257–72; Eltjo Buringh, Medieval Manuscript Production in the Latin West: Explorations with a Global Database (Leiden: Brill, 2011); Bühler, The Fifteenth-Century Book, p. 19.

46 Ghent, UB, Ms. 895, contains inter alia Dietse Historie van Sint Anna, by Pieter Dorlant, which was also published in Antwerp in 1501 by Govert Back. The manuscript comes from the convent of ‘Sinte Luyciendaele gheleghen buyten der der goeder stadt van sintruden’. A colophon on fol. 250r reads: ‘Ghescreven inden jaer XVc van eender religioeser wies naeme geset moet wesen inden boeke des levens J H rusten moet sy inden ewigen vrede’. The binding is blind-stamped leather over boards, with a ‘MATIAS’ stamp.

47 For more on this topic, see Gerd Dicke and Klaus Grubmüller, eds. Die Gleichzeitigkeit von Handschrift und Buchdruck, Wolfenbütteler Mittelalter-Studien, vol. 16 (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2003).

48 A. I. Flament, ‘Het Rijks-archief in Limburg’, Verslagen omtrent ’s Rijks Oude Archieven (VROA), XVI (1893), p. 421 (Rituale van de Bogarden).