Close XYL-4 Angel Playing the Lute; Judith

[Italy (Venice?), first half 16th century]. Woodcut with inscription, probably designed as a book cover.

 Two woodcuts printed side by side, divided by a vertical black strip intended for the spine when affixed to a bookcover. The woodcut to the left shows an angel, portrayed as a half-length winged figure playing a lute, at the centre of an oblong panel. He is surrounded by an arabesque design made up of tendrils, acanthus and vine leaves, flowers and masks, standing out like the main design in white on black. The woodcut to the right portrays Judith as a standing figure in an oblong panel, barefoot, with a raised naked sword in her right hand and the head of Holofernes in her left. The black background is inscribed ‘ivdit’. Both panels are set against a stippled background, black on white. Evidently designed to be pasted to the boards of a pasteboard binding in 8o. Unique copy.

ills: Rauch sale catalogue no. 3 (Geneva, 1953), 41–2 no. 57.

copy Chancery quarter-sheet, divided into two separate leaves: 148 × 80 mm (trimmed to the edges of the woodcut for the lower board); 148 × 97 mm (woodcut for the upper board 148 × 80 mm, black strip to the left 146 × 15 mm). Chain-lines vertical. No watermark. Printed in black ink in a press on one side of the paper. Uncoloured. Traces of paste on the reverse. Described by Rauch as a proof copy.

Binding: Mounted on card and kept in a folder made for the Bodleian.

Provenance: Albert Ehrman (1890–1969); purchased from Nicolas Rauch of Geneva in 1953 for £107. 10. 0; ledger no. ‘R 1139’. Presented in 1978 by John Ehrman.

shelfmark: Broxb. 95.32.