16th Century Paper Cut Book
These images are from a curious 16th century volume which contains meticulously cut out text standing in for printed or handwritten pages. I’ve posted quite a bit of paper cutting, but nothing that goes back this far. The pages almost look contemporary. The book has an interesting history, even being referred to as “The Most Interesting Book In The World” in a bibliographic volume entitled “Gleanings from the Harvest-Fields of Literature”, a collection of curiosities relating to books and manuscripts.
The volume is described in “Gleanings…” as:
The most singular bibliographic curiosity is that which belonged to the family of the Prince de Ligne, and is now in France. It is entitled Liber Passionis Domini Nostri Jesu Christi, cum Characteribus Nulla Materia Compositis. This book is neither written nor printed! The whole letters of the text are cut out of each folio upon the finest vellum; and, being interleaved with blue paper, it is read as easily as the best print. The labor and patience bestowed in its completion must have been excessive, especially when the precision and minuteness of the letters are considered. The general execution, in every respect, is indeed admirable; and the vellum is of the most delicate and costly kind. Rodolphus II. of Germany offered for it, in 1640, eleven thousand ducats, which was probably equal to sixty thousand at this day. The most remarkable circumstance connected with this literary treasure is, that it bears the royal arms of England, but it cannot be traced to have ever been in that country.
I love that story.