I love dogs in early books thus my logo!

Europe's printed and hand-written books in the spotlight

by Dr Kathleen Walker-Meikle

Dogs abound in medieval manuscripts, from hounds scampering after hares in the margins (and occasionally finding themselves the target of lupine rage) to full page illuminations in folios depicting pet dogs, guard dogs, hunting dogs, wild dogs, and generally just being very dog-like. Early printed books might have (alas) less planned marginalia but the dogs never disappear. They might appear in hand-painted illustrations, spontaneous doodles on the part of a reader or in printed woodcuts.

In the woodcuts of early printed books, they command the centre of attention or take up a supporting role. An example of the latter is the rather marvellous dog who accompanies the author Jean Gerson (1363–1429), in the guise of a Christian pilgrim, in the woodcut frontispiece to the 1489 edition of his collected works (printed by George Stuchs in Nuremberg). Today the illustration’s main claim to fame…

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