inally we will look at those initial letters that are not mentioned by Douce, and don't belong in any of the other categories.
To the right, Death stirs a pot like a cook — using a large bone. The letter is from an alphabet designed by Hans Holbein and cut in metal by Jakob Faber. Letters from this alphabet appear in August 1520, but the G is from Erasmus' "Familiarium colloquiorum formulae" printed by Froben, 1522.
The letter to the left was designed by Hans Holbein and cut by Jakob Faber. It is taken from "En Amice Lector, Thesaurum Damus Inaestimabilem" printed by Froben in 1532. The X functions as a Greek Chi in the word "Christou" — i.e. Christ's.
The three letters to the right are from yet another alphabet by Holbein. The theme is the book of Genesis and the three first letters repeat motives from Holbein's great dance of death with Creation, the Fall of Man and the Expulsion.
The letters are big, and the alphabet appears already in 1524 — i.e. the same year as Holbein's more famous dance of death alphabet. In fact both the A and the C appeared in the first book, where Holbein's dance of death alphabet was used.
The sheet to the left is a so-called "printer's proof". This means that all the 24 initials have been reproduced together on a single sheet, which is only printed on one side.
These 24 initials are imitations of Holbeins dance of death alphabet, and so is the sheet itself. Normally these "printer's proofs" didn't have any text, but precisely Holbein's dance of death alphabet was published with a Bible quote at the top and bottom, and a quote for each initial. On the printer's proof with Holbein's dance the quotes were translated into German, but on the sheet to the left they are taken from the Latin Vulgate.
This sheet belongs to the British Museum, who writes: »Copies of the letters on this sheet, made to the same size, were used in Brunfels' Kraüterbuch (Strasbourg, J. Schott, 1531)«. The Museum is mistaken in this. The letters may be reminiscent of the ones used by Hans Schott, but they are not the same.
The picture to the right is from an alphabet with landsknechts. This particular initial was obviously inspired by Holbein's A.
Let us finish with some different alphabets. The two images are taken from French reprints from 1862 and 1874.
This is the last chapter in the series on dances of death-alphabets in old books.
The previous subject was Hans Holbein's alphabet.
There is a similar section about dances of death in the margins of old books of hours.