Close XYL-5 Annunciation to the Shepherds; Device of Jean Belot

[Switzerland(?), early 16th century]. Woodcut with monogram.

 Two woodcuts printed side by side. In that to the left an angel appears, holding a banderole, to two shepherds, the first standing and extending his hand to a second shepherd, to the right, who is seated on the ground. The scene is surrounded by decorated columns from which branches extend to form an arch. Unique copy. In the second woodcut the monogram ‘I B’, linked by tendrils, is inscribed in a shield with three stars, affixed to a tree trunk. In the upper part of the shield there is an inscription ‘Ma’. The background is formed of scrolls and flowering plants. The monogram is that of the printer Jean Belot, who is attested in Lausanne in 1491, and in Geneva 1495–1512. The first state of the woodcut with the monogram, which has ‘R’ (for ‘Rouen’) instead of ‘Ma’ inscribed on the shield, is found in books printed by Belot in the period up to 1500.

ills. E. H. Gaullieur, ‘Études sur la typographie genevoise du XVe au XIXe siècles et sur l’introduction de l’imprimerie en Suisse’, Bulletin de l’Institut National Genevois, 2/1 (1855), 32–292 (repr. Nieuwkoop, 1971), pl. II,4 (I B monogram, first state); P. Heitz, Genfer Buchdrucker- und Verlegerzeichen im XV., XVI., und XVII. Jahrhundert (Strasbourg, 1908), no. 12 (I B monogram, first state); M.-L. Polain, Marques des imprimeurs et libraires en France au XVe siècle (Paris, 1926), 16 no. 17 (I B monogram, first state); W. J. Meyer, Die französischen Drucker- und Verlegerzeichen des XV. Jahrhunderts (Munich, 1926), 27 no. 12 (I B monogram, first state); Rauch sale catalogue no. 3 (Geneva, 1953), 43 no. 59 (with illustration of both woodcuts); Lo&hungarumlaut;kkös, Genève, 170, 197 (I B monogram, first state).

refs. H. Delarue, ‘Les débuts de l’imprimeur Jean Belot à Genève et ses bréviaires de Lausanne’, Genava, 3 (1925), 297–307.

copy Chancery quarter-sheet. 120 × 181 mm (printed area: 118 × 78 mm; 117 × 80 mm; 20 mm apart). Chain-lines vertical. No watermark. The woodcuts printed side by side in black ink in a press on one side of the paper. Uncoloured. There are 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 £65; ledger no. ‘R 1140’. Presented in 1978 by John Ehrman.

shelfmark: Broxb. 95.33.