Vassar College Digital Library

Gerard Leeu, 1477-1492 -- Printer's Mark

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Main (Thompson) Library location: South wing -- Third window. Gerard Leeu (c.1445/50 – 1492) was born in Gouda and operated two small printing presses there until 1484, when he relocated his practice to Antwerp. Documents indicate that he was a master printer at the prominent Guild of St. Luke in 1485. Martens quickly became a prolific printer in Belgium; his publications consisted primarily of theological literature and garnered interest throughout the Low Countries and as far as France and England. His major works include Dialogus creaturarum moralisatus, Van den drie blinde danssens, Historie van Parijs ende Vienne, and Fabulen van Esopus. In 1492, Leeu was mortally wounded during an accident while printing Cronycks of the Londe of England; his apprentices published the book the next year with a tribute to their master in the colophon. The mark of Gerard Leeu reflects influence from German printers Fust and Schoeffer. It consists of two shields suspended from a horizontal branch; the escutcheon on the left bears the arms of the city Gouda. The meaning of the shield on the right remains unknown, and may be a personal symbol of the printer himself. Some scholars have connected the symbol to Archduke Maximilian of Austria. In later versions, Leeu incorporated these shields into the detailed illustration of the Castle of Antwerp.
Photograph by Amy Laughlin

This project was created by Katherine Durr (VC '15) as part of the Ford Scholar program under the supervision of Professor Ron Patkus in Summer 2013.

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"The Mark of the Renaissance Printer" blog post by Katherine Durr, 2013 Vassar Ford Scholar: