15th-Century Printed Books
The Alexander Turnbull Library has 92 printed works dating from the fifteenth century. The earliest publication is dated 1469. These early printed works are often called incunabula or incunables, a convenient one-word term for books printed between 1450 and 1501. Incunables represent a cross-over between the earlier manuscript book (hand-written book) and the fully printed book and they incorporate features of both. They were often illuminated in gold, silver and colours, some more elaborately than others, and the illumination was all done by hand. In the accompanying images, you will find illuminated and decorated letters, a rubricator’s signature, earlier medieval manuscripts which have been cut up and re-used in the fifteenth-century binding process, and fifteenth-century doodles.
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