Weekes 2004

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Weekes, Ursula. Early Engravers and their Public: The Master of the Berlin Passion and Manuscripts from Convents in the Rhine-Maas Region, ca. 1450-1500. Turnhout: Harvey Miller Publisher, 2004.

transitions in methods of book production; "period marked by experimentation, particularly in the production of illustrated books" (14) -- "consequently a variety of hybrid books emerged"

  • prints stuck into books during production
  • prints hand decorated
  • blockbooks with handwritten text
  • manuscript illustrated with engravings -- practice that existed only a brief time during period of transition

engravings in 16c came to be associated with independent art

prior to print, "shift from manuscript production as a bespoke trade, dependent on a commission-based market, to a trade increasingly focused on the open market" (15)

bookowner inserted prints into their own books; but those inserted during production between 1450-1500 in Rhine-Mass region "almost always small religious engravings and metalcuts" and most by the Master of the Berlin Passion and his circle (15)

"I will argue that the Master of the Berlin Passion and his circle specifically targeted their small religious engravings at the market for devotional manuscripts, and that they did so to an extent unparalleled by engravers elsewhere in Europe." (15)

work by Jeffrey Hamburger "has greatly advanced our understanding of the role that images played in the spirituality of women, especially nuns, during the late medieval period. Indeed, he suggests that images served in part as a means of realizing reform in those convents and monasteries where sight had become a complement to contemplation as an accepted avenue of insight and access to the divine." (21)

Master of the Berlin Passion, St. Erasmus Masters and the Masters of the Church Father Borders -- from 1450s-1470s "these printmakers created a niche for their engravings and metalcuts within the manuscript market in an unprecedented manner. Few engravers elsewhere in northern Europe worked so assiduously for this market during what were the key decades of transition in methods of book production from manuscript to print. Consequenty, as manuscript makers in the Rhine-Maas region sought to take advantage of the new technology of printing, they tended to use engravings by this circle of printmakers as a means of illustrating their books." (81)

6. Sewing in Meaning: Engravings Stitched into a Book of Hours from Brabant: Series nova 12715, Vienna, Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek (167-185)

Series nova 12715 of the Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek in Vienna, a Middle Dutch Book of Hours caa. 1470

  • 17 engravings, most by Mater of the Berlin Passion and the St Erasmus Masters
  • 3 miniatures by anonymous artists
  • 12/17 engravings and 2/3 miniatures are sewn in, with alternating red and silk diagonals creating a zigzag border
"The needlework is not of high quality, but it serves more than the functional purpose of physically attaching the engravings and miniatures to the folios of the manuscript. By framing the images with striking, geometric coloured borders, the stitching has a decorative function and transforms the relevant folios into three dimensional, embroidered objects." (167)

offers "fascinating insight into the way in which stitching, as a method of affixing images into a book, endowed the engravings and miniatures with particular devotional associations and meanings' (167)

Augustinian; seems to be made for use in a community of the Windesheim congregation, Rooklooster or a community close by; made for men but probably not by men (168)

images "must have been planned from the outset" (171); engravings and miniatures were sewn on both sides of a leaf, recto and verso, together (173)

stub is sewn into a gathering with the same green thread used to sew the images to the page; so same persons may have been involved in sewing engravings and collating (173-4)

"The engravings in Series nova 12714 seem to represent a body of material that was to hand, rather than a carefully selected suite of engravings acquired specifically for the book. This is suggested by the mix of engravings and miniatures in the manuscript and by the fact that it contains one print that is hand-coloured in contrast to the others, the Christ as Salvator Mundi on f.169r." (175) -- seem not to be close thematic relationship between text and image

where the images are stitched, no glue was used; "The primary function of the red and green zigzag stitching thus appears to be decorative, providing borders for the engravings and miniatures." (176)

embroidery indicates women were involved in making the manuscript

"Embroidery and needlework were a central part of the life of a female convent. They were one of the chief forms of manual labour deemed appropriate for women, as a means to foster discipline, quell idleness and provide the church with liturgical ornaments. They were, however, also considered a form of spiritual employment." (177) -- operor as both "to keep bsy" and "to be engaged in worship"; handiwork of nuns as both forms of operor
"the decision to sew engravings and miniatures into Seriew nova 12715 using decorative silk threads was intended to evoke the idea of nuns' handiwork, and in so doing to express the ideals of Ora et labora." (178)

embroidery in two manuscripts from Alsace in the Diocese of Basel, ca., 1500 (Colmar, Bibliotheque de la Ville, Ms. 399 and Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum, McClean 64) -- saw tooth patterns in alternating colors; both diurnals, i.e. office books containing the chant for the day and the hours of Divine Office from Lauds to Compline; "As liturgical books adorned with embroidery, these manuscripts encapsulate the two central aspects of the religious life: the celebration of the Divine Office as provided by the text (ora) and pious labour represented by the embroidery ('labora)." (179)

Heinrich Suso, embroidery with "IHS" on it -- sewing Jesus' name in red silk, showing "that he valued the embroidery as an expression of religious fervour in a saintly woman" (179)

"Perhaps one reason why embroidery was deemed appropriate as a form of decoration in manuscripts intended for men was because it conveyed this idea of a gift. The stitching could thus serve not only as an expression of the ideals of the religious life, Ora et labora, but also as an expression of spiritual love between communities and perhaps individuals." (179)

coloring in an engraving pasted into manuscript from Tegernsee (Munich, BSB, Clm 20110, f.159v), looks like the embroidery stitches but is painted (179)

importance of visionary experience (180)

red silk, High Divinity; green silk, two natures, divine and human; stitched together, so these unified (180)

nuns stitching as a form of imitatio Mariae (182)

rare to find engraving stitched into manuscripts but "the practice of stitching items into books is well known as a method by which pilgrim badges or other religious mementos and osculatories were fixed into manuscripts" (182) -- unlike in this book, though, tat sewing was functional not decorative

"One of the chief motives for attaching pilgrim bages and other mementos to manuscripts was the notion that in so doing the owner of the book could appropriate the spiritual blessings of an external context such as a pilgrim shrine. Pilgrim badges enhanced the devotional significance of the manuscripts into which they were sewn, since it was believed that the badges contained talismanic powers derived from the pilgrim shrine itself." (182)

sewing badges into manuscripts -- popular in S Netherlands and the North of France 1460-70, peaks 1480-90 (182)

trompe l'oeil borders depicting metal pilgrim badges sewn to the margins

gathering indulgences; reading book as internal pilgrimage (184)