<em>On the Genealogy of the Gods</em>
Giovanni Boccaccio On the Genealogy of the Gods (Paris: Antoine Vérard, 1498).

Printed Books

Antoine Vérard, printer and bookseller, published this French edition of the famous Tuscan author Boccaccio’s encyclopedic text on the gods of ancient Greece and Rome. The left page introduces Book Eleven, which lists and describes the thirty legitimate and illegitimate sons of Jupiter.
From the library of Henry Probasco.

Box with a woodcut of the Virgin of the Rosary
Box with a woodcut of the Virgin of the Rosary, ca. 1498.

Many scholars believe that wooden boxes like this one were designed as “saddle bags” for the transportation of printed books by colporteurs, or wandering book vendors. Only a small number of boxes with their original images survive intact; many such images were removed by nineteenth-century print collectors. A very similar woodcut appears in a book printed in Paris by Jean du Pré in 1493.
Acquired on funds generated by the sale of duplicates and out-of-scope materials.

<em>Le champion des dames</em>
Martin Le Franc, Le champion des dames (Lyon: Jean du Pré, before May 1488).

This text by Martin Le Franc, composed about 1440 for Philip the Good of Burgundy, champions the female sex. The scene on display here appropriately depicts women defending themselves against men, the principal theme of this book-length poem. In the fifteenth century, Lyon rivaled Paris as a center for printing exquisitely illustrated books. Such printed volumes reached a far larger audience than earlier manuscripts. Notably, this book’s colored woodcuts resemble the illustrations found in paper manuscripts from Philip the Good’s library.
Purchased on the John M. Wing Book Fund.

Book of Hours, Use of Rome
Book of Hours, Use of Rome (Paris: Geoffroy Tory, 1525).

Printer Geoffroy Tory introduced the use of Roman typefaces, popular in Renaissance Italy, to the printing of books of hours and vernacular texts in France. This woodcut, inspired by illustrations in contemporary Italian printed books, depicts the Adoration of the Magi. The letter “F” in the lower margin on some pages refers to Francis I (reigned 1515-1547), to whom this volume is dedicated and whom Tory served as Royal Printer.
Purchased on the John M. Wing Book Fund.

Cloth binding from the library of Jean Budé
Cloth binding from the library of Jean Budé (Paris, ca. 1486).

This volume, in its original cloth binding, contains three separate theological titles printed in Lyon and Paris between 1483 and 1486. It belonged to Jean Budé, a councilor of Louis XI and father of the celebrated humanist Guillaume Budé (1467-1540). Cloth bindings like this one, favored by wealthy commoners, are rare today.
Gift of D. Carroll Joynes.

Grandes Chroniques de France

Grandes Chroniques de France (Paris: Jean Maurand for Antoine Verard, 1493).

The Grandes Chroniques de France was a vernacular history that traced the French monarchy back to the ancient city of Troy, site of the Trojan War and legendary origin of the French monarchy. The Grandes Chroniques was first produced in the 1270s and continuously updated until the early fourteenth century. Monk historiographers at the abbey of Saint-Denis first compiled the work by translating Latin chronicles into French. Henceforth, the task of writing and revising the chronicles was entrusted to the Saint-Denis monks. This woodcut from a fifteenth-century printed edition of the Grandes Chroniques de France represents the pope, the Holy Roman Emperor, and the king of France, all key figures in the chronicles. For more information, refer to Anne D. Hedeman’s The Royal Image: Illustrations of the Grandes Chroniques de France, 1274-1422.
Purchased on the John M. Wing book fund.

<em>Customs and Constitutions of Brittany</em>
Customs and Constitutions of Brittany (Château de Bréhant-Loudéac: Robin Foucquet and Iehan Cres, 1485).

Brittany, a region that occupies the peninsula on France’s northwest coast, came under French rule when Anne, duchess of Brittany, married Charles VIII of France and then his successor, Louis XII. The duchy of Brittany was formally incorporated into France in 1532. This woodcut from the Customs and Constitutions of Brittany displays two lions presenting the Breton coat of arms.
Gift of the Florence Gould Foundation and the NBD Bank, Evanston.