Book of hours for the use of Salisbury (London, 1555)

London: John Wayland, [1555]

Many examples of Tudor colour printmaking are on the title pages of books, and the title vignette or border is usually the only colour-printed image in a book. There are exceptions, particularly in liturgical or devotional texts in which red and black ink was required for the text throughout. In illustrations inside the text block, the red often has an iconographic significance, in addition to marking authenticity and indicating things that are actually red. This woodcut of the Annunciation depicts the angel Gabriel announcing to the Virgin Mary that she will bear the son of God and that she is to name him ‘Jesus’. The red printing in the book (or manuscript) that she is reading indicates that it is a devotional text, which conveys her piety and may refer to the description of Jesus as ‘the Word made flesh’ (John 1:14) in the New Testament.

Young.263, leaf A1 recto