Graphic Arts | Rare Books and Special Collections | Princeton University Library
Unseen Hands: Women Printers, Binders and Book Designers    
      thumbnail gallery   Name   Occupation   Timeline  


Iolande Bonhomme
French, active 1497-1556

After Thielman Kerver's death in 1522, his widow Iolande Bonhomme, daughter of the great printer Pasquier Bonhomme, took over the firm and continued to print primarily liturgical books until 1556. Bonhomme and Charlotte Guillard were the foremost women printers of the French Renaissance.

On view is a Book of Hours, so called because it contains the Psalms and other devotions (particularly to the Virgin Mary) for each of the canonical hours of the day. Such books were intended for private meditation by the laity, and splendid illuminated examples, such as the justly famous Très Riches Heures of Jean, Duc de Berry (ca. 1415) were often commissioned by wealthy and noble patrons.

Although not illuminated, the Book of Hours is nevertheless a printing tour de force in red and black, using several different sizes and styles of type. Forty-seven full-page woodcuts illustrate pious subjects, including a Dance of Death sequence, with devils and angels fighting for the souls of the living and the dead, and scenes from the tribulations of Job. Decorated borders made up of many small wood or metal cuts appear on every page.

Hore Deipare Virginis Marie Secundum usum Romanum . . .
Paris : [Widow of] Thielman Kerver, 1523
Rare Books Division. Presented by the Estate of Katharine J. P. Sutton


Princeton University Library, Graphic Arts Collection
Rebecca W. Davidson, Curator of Graphic Arts
Tel: (609) 258-3197
Last Modified: October 10, 2003