Description & Technical information

The present box is of the utmost importance. The woodcut, in spite of its condition and the tear that affects the visibility of the head of the Virgin, is the earliest known of all woodcuts from messenger’s boxes. Moreover, it can be compared with the production for printers such as Jean Du Pre, Verard and Simon Vostre by the Master of the Petites Heures of Anne de Bretagne, a Parisian illuminator active in the last quarter of the fifteenth century. This illuminator composed designs for woodcuts, metalcuts, and stained glass, as well as for illuminated manuscripts. Most of the woodcuts included in the boxes appear to have been made in Paris, some in the workshop of the illuminator Jean Pichore (active c. 1500-1520 in Paris), who actively supplied models for metalcuts and woodcuts to Parisian printers of Books of Hours.
The box is in good condition, lined on the interior with green canvas, and possesses a simple cover, reinforced by 5 strips of iron. The lock is decorated, and the hasp and its lateral attachments are present. At the origin there was a small cushion under the base of the box. 

Date:  1480-90
Period:  1400-1600, 15th century
Origin:  France, Paris
Medium: Woodcut
Categories: Illuminated Manuscripts & Medieval Works of Art