Book of Hours


Philippe Pigouchet is one of the best-known Parisian printers of the later 15th and early 16th centuries. He produced numerous books between circa 1488 and 1515 and worked for various publishers, especially for Simon Vostre, who, apart from Antoine Vérard, was the most important publisher in Paris at that time. This fruitful cooperation produced, among other works, a number of richly illustrated books of hours, which were to play an important role in the evolution of printing in France. This precious book of hours was printed on parchment and lavishly decorated with metalcuts―a technique of illustration that Pigouchet himself pioneered―and adorned with initials painted in gold on a colored background. A four-sided border decorates each of the 12 calendar pages at the beginning of the book and all leaves containing text. In addition to grotesques, animal motifs, and floral ornaments, various iconographic cycles depicting, for example, the story of Joseph, the life of the Virgin Mary, the story of Susanna from the book of Daniel, the 15 signs preceding the Day of Judgement, the eight Sibyls, and a very extensive danse macabre are integrated into the borders. The small figures often stand out from a dotted background produced by decorating the metal plates with punched patterns. The borders, the smaller pictures scattered throughout the text, and the full-page illustrations were all designed between 1496 and 1498 by the Master of Anne de Bretagne, a prolific and successful artist who produced numerous designs not only for the illustration of books, but also for stained-glass windows and tapestries. Pigouchet’s realization of the designs in the metalcuts is an artistic masterpiece. This edition is extremely rare: the Munich copy formerly belonged to the family Lalaing (or Lallaing) from northern France or Belgium and is one of only two known examples; the other, similarly printed on parchment, is preserved in the British Library in London.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Simon Vostre, Paris

Type of Item

Physical Description

260 pages, parchment : illuminated, illustrated (metalcuts)


  • This description of the work was written by Béatrice Hernad.
  • BSB Shelfmark: L.impr.membr. 38

Last updated: July 28, 2017