A 15th century woodcut of the chamomile plant.The most visually striking feature of late medieval books are their woodcut print illustrations. Before the invention of the printing press, a book could only be illustrated through hand illumination, a very tedious and time consuming process. But with the advent of movable type printing, another allied technology – the woodcut print – was also developed. Typical of the early 1480s, the image has broad contours outlining the plant and parallel lines modeling their forms. The spare background and the lack of decoration is typical of German woodcuts of this period.Using colour wash to highlight parts of an image was a common practice north of the Alps, particularly to delineate foreground or background or add an ornamental touch that the woodcutter was not able to accomplish with his knife. The German inscription on the back translates as:“Drink camomile water on an empty stomach 2-3 times morning and evening for stomach pain, and to sleep well, God willing”. Printed on paper made from pulped linen rags. German, circa 1480
Provenance: Dr.R.M.Bradfield Collection.
Width (with frame): 18.5cms (7.25 inches)
Height(with frame): 22.5cms (8.75 inches)