Nürnberg: Anton Koberger for Sebald Schreyer and Sebastian Kammermeister, 1493.
1st Edition. Hardcover. Large Folio. Very Good. Item #003276
Imperial Folio (430 x 305 mm). 325 (of 328) leaves (bound without first and final two blank leaves). Woodcut title, double-page maps and more than 1800 hand-colored woodcut illustrations printed from 645 blocks by Michael Wolgemut, Wilhelm Pleydenwurff and their workshop, including Albrecht Dürer. Fol. I opening with a 14-line initial in blue, on a punched gold ground within green and red frame, with marginal extensions comprising interwining sprays and flowers in green, blue and pink in typical Koberger style; fol. CCLXVII with an 8-line opening initial finished in the same style. The opening initial of the table painted in red and blue with extending penwork, paragraph opening initials painted in red or red and blue. The text Rubricated throughout, with a few paragraph opening initials painted in red and capital strokes in red. Restored and recased in contemporary blind-tooled goatskin over thick wooden boards of the Cologne "Madonna II" workshop.** Brass clasps and catches preserved (leather straps gone), outer corners protected by brass fittings, spine rebacked preserving most of the original material, boards with patches restored. The printed paper with some spotting and thumbing, minor browning and some marginal pale dampstaining in places (the table at end stronger), minor marginal worming to last leaves, a few old ink annotations. Corner-damage to f.10, large tear to f.91 and repaired tear to f.183, soiling and marginal repairs to f.291. The double-page map of Europe soiled at margins and with minor repair. Title spotted and soiled, with marginal repairs and old inscription. A few leaves trimmed close at upper margin touching or slightly shaving headline. A full-page engraved family tree after A. Birnbaum (c. 1660) of Johann Georg I. of Saxony with city-view of Johanngeorgenstadt pasted on blank verso of f.266; f.169v with ink-cancelled paragraph; ff. 2, 5, 7 and the 3 foliated blanks supplied from another copy, ff. 2, 5 and 7 with typical Koberger coloring. Provenances: Old inscriptions to title page "Ex Bibliotheca P. Zacharias Pieschel", a further illegible gothic inscription below and a paper snippet pasted at lower right corner; further inscribed "ex libris Equitis à Schönfeld" on paper strip mounted on front-pastedown, two paper snippets pasted below inscribed "Ex Collectione Incunabilis Principis à Wallensten," manuscript notes on title verso. From the library of Sandor Wolf.* ----
FIRST EDITION IN LATIN, AND HAND-COLORED THROUGHOUT. In contrast to the commonly found Koberger shop style of coloring with its dominating flashy red and blue, the colors in our copy are rather delicate and airy with pastel-shade ocher and green tones, none the less in a fine contemporary hand. The Nuremberg Chronicle is celebrated for its fine and numerous woodcut illustrations, to which Albrecht Dürer is believed to have contributed (see Wilson, The Making of the Nuremberg Chronicle, Amsterdam: 1976). It also includes two important double-page maps: a fine world map based on Mela's Cosmographia of 1482 (see Shirley 19), and a map of northern and central Europe by Hieronymus Münzer (1437-1508) after Nicolas Khyrpffs. The world map is one of only three 15th-century maps showing Portuguese knowledge of the Gulf of Guinea of about 1470. The map of Europe is closely associated with Nicolas of Cusa's Eichstätt map, with which it is thought to share a common manuscript source of c.1439-54. It is therefore claimed to be the first modern map of this region to appear in print. Although published later than the map of Germany in the 1482 Ulm Ptolemy, it was constructed earlier (see Campbell, The Earliest Printed Maps, 1472-1500, 1987). The publication history of the Nuremberg Chronicle is one of the best documented of any book printed of that period: the contracts between Schedel and his partners Schreyer and Kammermeister, and between Schedel and the artists, all survive in the Nuremberg Stadtsbibliothek, as do detailed manuscripts of both the Latin and the German editions. The two editions were planned simultaneously, but the German issue was published five months after this Latin.
* Our copy comes from the library of the Austrian (Eisenstadt, Burgenland) collector, art patron and wine merchant Sandor Wolf (1871-1946). His important art collection served as the basis of the Burgenland State Museum, which he co-founded (see stamp of the Eisenstadt Museum on fol. 48). In 1938 Wolf fled with his sister Frieda Löwy to Palestine, where he bought a country estate in Haifa and where he died in 1946. His sister inherited the collection and library and after an agreement with officials in 1957, part of the collection was acquired by the State of Burgenland and the rest of the collection auctioned 1958 in Lucerne by Galerie Fischer (see catalog number 157, sale June 29, 1958). >br>**The "Madonna II" workshop (EBDB w002540, active in Cologne from 1500 to 1509) is identified by the characteristic single stamps used for the blind-tooling, with stamps "Adler" (EBDB s017709), "Rosette" (EBDB s017715), "Knospe" (EBDB s017722) and "Staude" (EBDB s017723). See www.hist-einband.de.
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