The Myrroure of the Blessyd Lyf of Jhesu Cryste

Written in an animated and accessible style, this popular work, long attributed to St. Bonaventure, encourages readers to reflect on mortality—hence the “mirror” in the English title—and contemplate the episodes of suffering that led up to Christ’s death. The woodcut illustration shows St. Bonaventure giving the book to a woman, suggesting that the text was specifically intended for a female readership or that this edition was particularly marketed to women. In Holbein’s portrait of Lady Guildford, the sitter holds what might be a copy of this text: an elegant green volume with a tasseled bookmark, labeled by Holbein with its Latin title, Vita Christi (Life of Christ), along the book’s top edge.

Johann de Caulibus (b. ca. 1376)
The Myrroure of the Blessyd Lyf of Jhesu Cryste
Translated by Nicholas Love (d. ca. 1423)
Westminster: William Caxton, ca. 1489–90
The Morgan Library & Museum, purchased with the Bennett collection, 1902; PML 701