Close XYL-31 The Sacred Heart and the Wounds of Christ displayed on a Cross (‘Arms of Jesus Christ’)

 [England, c.1495]. Woodcut with inscriptions.

 Schr. 1795g. The five wounds are displayed as fragments of Christ’s body set out heraldically on a shield, with the bleeding Sacred Heart at the centre, the hands with bleeding wounds in the upper corners on either side of the name ‘ih’s’ superimposed on a star, the feet with bleeding wounds in the lower part, between them a chalice into which the blood from the Sacred Heart is seen to flow. The shield hangs on a cross with three nail-holes, surmounted by a large crown of thorns and a panel with the inscription ‘.I.N.R.I.’ (the letter N in reverse). Behind the shield, positioned diagonally, are the reed with sponge and the lance. Single-lined frame. Unique copy. This appears to be a slightly simplified copy, lacking the supporting angels and typographic inscription, of XYL-32.

ills. Dodgson, ‘English Devotional Woodcuts’, pl. XXXVI (b); Dodgson, English Woodcuts, fig. 19; Duffy, ‘Devotion’, fig. 1; Bodleian Filmstrip Roll 245, no. 3.

refs. Dodgson, Ashmolean, 35 (Bodl.24); Dodgson, ‘English Devotional Woodcuts’, 102; Schreiber, Handbuch, IV 6–7; Hind II 738; Dodgson, English Woodcuts, 10 no. 19; Hodnett no. 2503; Nicholson no. 87.

copy An irregular paper cutting, trimmed close to the frame of the woodcut on three sides, but preserving the full width of the handwritten inscription below. 130 × 74 mm (woodcut 91 × 68 mm) / 130 × 110 mm. Chain-lines vertical. Traces of a watermark (possibly a gothic letter P) at top right, positioned as in a sheet folded in 8o. Printed in black ink in a press on one side of the paper. Coloured in green, light blue, light brown, red, yellow, and flesh-colour. A four-line handwritten inscription beneath the woodcut reads ‘I haue sent vnto yor Lordship. a litill’ englysh’ boke not to passe þe tyme with | whill’ ye be here and haue leyser but for to kepe tyme wt. which’ we shu|lde desire in or wyll’ and intente. Impute it not to presumpton but raþer to | wantyng’ of wytte. Amor non timet | yor pore bedemen for euer | .d.E.G.’ (the Latin motto underlined). A small hole in the right-hand frame, traces of paste on the reverse. This item and another version of exactly the same iconographical motif, XYL-32, were removed in 1928 from a printed Sarum primer: Hore intemerate beatissime virginis Marie secundum vsum Sarum ([Paris: n. pr.], 1495; chancery 4o; 193 × 133 mm), shelfmark Douce 24 (Duff no. 186; H-188). Lines and discolouring visible on the blank verso show that the leaf was folded before it came to be pasted into the printed primer. Nicholson (†1912) reports in his description that the woodcut was positioned between fols e1 and e2 (‘pasted on the latter’); see XYL-32. Dodgson, in his publications of 1928/9 and 1936, reports that XYL-31 and XYL-32 were detached from the host volume in 1928. A later note in the hand of David Rogers (1917–1995), kept together with the woodcut, incorrectly states that the two prints were ‘sewn originally to leaf e ij’. A note in Douce’s hand on the front flyleaf of the host volume mentions a single leaf sewn to fol. e2, presumably referring to XYL-32. It seems quite likely, therefore, that XYL-31 was added to the volume by Douce at a later date, the addition of such cuttings being a common feature of his collecting practice. There is no positive evidence that its association with XYL-32 and Douce 24 goes back before the early nineteenth century.

Binding: Mounted between glass and kept, together with XYL-32, in a dark blue case, made for the Bodleian. 185 × 152 × 25 mm.

Provenance: Francis Douce (1757–1834). Bequeathed in 1834.

shelfmark: Arch. G f.13.