"Missel Quotidien"

Above are two images scanned from an old French/Latin missal I have, rescued from a box of used books at a rummage sale a few years back.

The missal is full of incredible images like the above - there's an attribution to a "R. De Cramer" for them. A little searching on the internet didn't reveal too much more, other than that Rene De Cramer was a Belgian artist who died around 1951.

What I really like about these is that they blur the line between design and art, graceful hand-rendered letterforms intermingling with Saints and Angels. There's hardly a page that doesn't have some decorative drop cap or stunning spot illustration.

Hopefully I can try to get some more scans of this. The pages are in rough shape and a previous owner taped a few which are now yellowing pretty badly.


Felipe Alanis said...

Hi, I'm Felipe Alanis, from Mexico. I have spend some months acquiring images from missals from 1800 to 1965, as the ones in this post.

Maybe we can work togheter in a project of gather a collection of this kind of art. I was planning to offer it as clipart for catholic groups.

You can see some examples in my blog:


Hope to know from you soon. Sorry for my rusty english.

Lawrence Klimecki said...

There is a reprint of the missal by St Bonaventure Publications. Here is the link: http://www.libers.com/sam.htm
I agree Father DeCramer's illustrations are a wonderful inspiration for contemporary liturgical artists. I wrote to the Belgian abbey that originally printed the missal. They were very gracious in their response but there was very little they could tell me, other than the fact that he painted several churches in and around Belgium. Anyone have contacts in Belgium that could find out more?
By the way. Work on my crucifix has been interrupted for a few weeks while I work on a book cover proposal. I'll update soon.

theodore said...

Thank you for scanning these lovely images!

This is just one of the many reasons I love the traditional latin Mass. Instead of a relic of the past images such as these are part of my every day life.

Happy feast of St. Joseph by the way!

Jef Murray said...

So, Lawrence, is the St. Andrew Daily Missal the one that contains these illustrations?

BTW, I work at the Pitts Theology Library at Emory University. There's an ongoing project to scan in woodcuts from theological manuscripts starting from the Gutenberg bible. Too few of these are Catholic, but there are some. The entire archive is free and online at http://www.pitts.emory.edu/dia/woodcuts.htm

Lawrence Klimecki said...

Yes the St. Andrews Missal published by St. Bonaventure contains these illustrations. Theses are very significant examples of theolgical art, full of rich symbolism.
A word of caution about collecting them for clip art, I believe these are still under copyright. Copyright laws differ from country to country but if I'm not mistaken these illustrations are from the 1950's and most likely the Belgian monastery that originally published them still holds the copyright.

Felipe said...

Thank you very much for the advice Lawrence, i will keep it in mind.

Ben hatke said...

thanks for posting this Abigail!

This is just the kind of thing that I find very inspiring. Such a great sense of design. He seems to share a lot, stylistically, with Howard Pyle

After seeing these, I'd like to see the churches that he painted.

StubbleSpark said...

So, how are these designs made? Are they woodcuts as I suspected/told my friends?

I used a bunch of these to illustrate my wedding program (which I created myself) and have always found them inspirational and meditative.

Fleure said...

I can help you because I am the grandson-in-law of Mister R. De Cramer. Let me know by email wath you like to know. Brunelmar@hotmail.com

Greetings from Belgium


AnnieCee said...

This flickr.com page shows some mosaic work in a church, by R DeCramer.