chapter  5
17 Pages

A Passion for Prints

WithOlenka Horbatsch

An extraordinary manuscript prayer book with pasted-in and masterfully handcoloured engravings is a revealing example of prints modified for devotional and aesthetic purposes. Eighteen hand-coloured Netherlandish engravings from the first quarter of the sixteenth century are pasted on to the versos of parchment pages facing hand-written devotional texts. Prints were foundational to the design and format of the prayer book, and the text is closely aligned with images. The ordering of prints in the prayer book held devotional significance. The prayer book offers a compelling example of the usage and function of prints. Prints and illustrated books were ideal for private veneration, and they occupied an important role in the daily life and devotional practices of confraternities. The Rijksmuseum prayer book offers a glimpse into the regional Netherlandish market, which was to become significantly expanded with the growth of the print industry.