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Newly discovered Wierix prints for Plantin's books of hours

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Among the illustrations used for a 4to Missale Romanum published by Christopher Plantin in 1585 are five prints by Jan Wierix and four anonymous copies of his work, none of which are in Marie Mauquoy-Hendrickx's extensive catalogue, Les Estampes des Wierix (Brussels 1978-83). This new group of religious prints and an already known group of comparably scaled Wierix engravings appear formerly to have been part of a single series of images. A consideration of both the subjects represented and archival evidence suggests that the series had been commissioned for the illustration of books of hours and not the missals in which the engravings are seen today. Finally, a similar examination of the subjects represented in two other sets of Wierix plates catalogued by Mauquoy-Hendrickx (but not part of any known book) suggests that they may also have originally been intended for the illustration of books of hours.


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