Marginal thinking: Vérard & Godard

The pope
Guillaume Godard, Pope
Vérard's first book of hours. This was:
1) The first printed book of hours in France
2) The first printed, illustrated book of hours anywhere
3) The first printed book with a French text.
Verard 1485

On this site we know Antoine Vérard mostly for his great and influential editions of Danse Macabre.

But Vérard was also an early mover when it came to publishing books of hours, in fact he was the first ever to publish a printed book of hours in France (picture to the right).

This first book of hours was (naturally) fairly simple, but his publications were soon to be filled with small and large illustrations. The first version with a dance of death in the margin may be the one owned by the Boston Public Library (Q.405.107), which was printed »le .xx. iour de Januier. Lan .M.CCCCC.« — i.e. January 22nd 1500 (or 1501). The colophon does not tell who printed the book — or for whom — but other woodcuts in the same book are those that Antoine Vérard used for his books of hours.

One of the original woodblocks (the pope)
Guillaume Godard, Block

In this book there is only one column, viz. pope-emperor-cardinal, which is used four times, but in later books of hours from 1503 (BNF, Velins-1505) and 1506 (Orleans, A 5825), the number has been expanded to 48 figures, 24 men and 24 women). Thus the series is considerably shorter than Simon Vostre's with 30 men and 36 women.

Later we find the same dance of death in books of hours published by Guillaume Godard.

This series could easily be taken for Simon Vostre's. They are slightly more clumsy and caricatured, but on the whole quite similar. Except for the first three (i.e. pope-emperor-cardinal) the scenes are all laterally inverted so Death stands to the right of the person.

The experts disagree about whether Simon Vostre's images were cut in wood or metal. But when it comes to Godard, there's no doubt because at least one of the original woodblocks still exists (picture to the right).

Guillaume Godard has also copied another dance of death, but we'll return to that later. First we'll look at a variant by Thielman Kerver.

Go forth
 

The next chapter is about an alternate (and in many ways very famous) series by Thielman Kerver.

The previous subject was The 66 dancers.

Vérard & Guillaume Godard's 48 dancers

Pope
Guillaume Godard 1514: Pope
Emperor
Guillaume Godard 1514: Emperor
Cardinal
Guillaume Godard 1514: Cardinal
King
Guillaume Godard 1514: King
Patriarch
Guillaume Godard 1514: Patriarch
Constable
Guillaume Godard 1514: Constable
The astrologer
Guillaume Godard 1514: The astrologer
The citizen
Guillaume Godard 1514: The citizen
Canon
Guillaume Godard 1514: Canon
Merchant
Guillaume Godard 1514: Merchant
Carthusian
Guillaume Godard 1514: Carthusian
Sergeant
Guillaume Godard 1514: Sergeant
Monk
Guillaume Godard 1514: Monk
Usurer
Guillaume Godard 1514: Usurer
Physician
Guillaume Godard 1514: Physician
Suitor
Guillaume Godard 1514: Suitor
Lawyer
Guillaume Godard 1514: Lawyer
Minstrel
Guillaume Godard 1514: Minstrel
Parish priest
Guillaume Godard 1514: Parish priest
Peasant
Guillaume Godard 1514: Peasant
Franciscan Monk
Guillaume Godard 1514: Franciscan Monk
Child
Guillaume Godard 1514: Child
Clerk
Guillaume Godard 1514: Clerk
Hermit
Guillaume Godard 1514: Hermit
Queen
Guillaume Godard 1514: Queen
Duchess
Guillaume Godard 1514: Duchess
Ruler
Guillaume Godard 1514: Ruler
Knight's wife
Guillaume Godard 1514: Knight's wife
Abbess
Guillaume Godard 1514: Abbess
Noblewoman
Guillaume Godard 1514: Noblewoman
Prioress
Guillaume Godard 1514: Prioress
Young woman
Guillaume Godard 1514: Young woman
Citizeness
Guillaume Godard 1514: Citizeness
Franciscan nun
Guillaume Godard 1514: Franciscan nun
Whore
Guillaume Godard 1514: Whore
Wetnurse
Guillaume Godard 1514: Wetnurse
Chambermaid
Guillaume Godard 1514: Chambermaid
Housekeeper
Guillaume Godard 1514: Housekeeper
Spinster
Guillaume Godard 1514: Spinster
Widow
Guillaume Godard 1514: Widow
Merchant's wife
Guillaume Godard 1514: Merchant's wife
Bailiff's wife
Guillaume Godard 1514: Bailiff's wife
Theologianess
Guillaume Godard 1514: Theologianess
Just married
Guillaume Godard 1514: Just married
Pregnant
Guillaume Godard 1514: Pregnant
Witch
Guillaume Godard 1514: Witch
Bigot
Guillaume Godard 1514: Bigot
Fool
Guillaume Godard 1514: Fool
Block
Guillaume Godard 1514: Block
Opus regale
Guillaume Godard 1511: Opus regale

External links