[T]hey… are visually very attractive, but since they all come from incomplete works should be considered as decorative pieces rather than scholarly ones. They are none the less attractive for that and would find a ready market.The second distinct part of this collection are the 80 printed and decorated leaves from a Missal for the Use of the Diocese of Chartres, printed in Paris by Thielman in 1529.
Leaves from a manuscript Latin Bible from a French Charterhouse of the late 13th Century. These contain a number of very nice illuminated initials—but these are not the original ones, and have been neatly added into the spaces left when the original illuminations were excised. Hence all illuminated leaves are damaged and repaired—resulting in pages that are visually acceptable, but with the text on the verso destroyed. The calligraphy is excellently neat and finely decorated—even on those leaves without miniatures.
- 58 leaves of Biblical text without illuminated initials, but rubricated in red and blue
- 20 leaves with illuminated capitals—all damaged to some extent, with illuminations supplied from another manuscript. The quality of the initials used is good, and the resulting pages are visually excellent.
- 7 leaves rubricated showing the liturgical readings for each day and 6 leaves of glossary
These are finely printed and rubricated, but the paper is very fragile and often damaged. Pages have been mounted on very acid card which has helped the process of deterioration. Nonetheless, the leaves are very decorative, especially those with decorated initial letters.At the request of Sam Fleming, Ernest Tune, Library Director at the School of Theology at Claremont California made this statement about the Kerver Missal:
- 39 leaves with one or more initials
- 41 leaves without initial letters
The name of Thielman Kerver is associated with the printing of some of the most beautiful liturgical books produced at Paris during the first half of the 16th century, his most notable works being various editions of “Books of Hours.” After his death in 1522, the printing house founded by Thielman in 1497 continued under the direction of his widow who specialized in reprinting Thielman’s earlier publications which were in demand. Eventually the business came under the management of Thielman’s son, Thielman the 2nd, and finally passed to the third generation, Thielman the 2nd’s son, Jacques Kerver. The style of the Kervers shows some imitation of, and is no doubt indebted to, the Paris publisher and artist Simon Vostre. Jacques Kerver is celebrated for his 1546 French edition of the Aldine Polifilo, Songe de Poliphile. It has been praised for being one of the most beautiful illustrated books of the Renaissance. The Kerver typographical mark is a shield with the letters T K upon it which stands before a tree with a unicorn rearing up on each side of the shield.All of these leaves were originally donated to the Divinity Library at Vanderbilt in 1985 and were transferred to Special Collections after that.
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