SCHEDEL, Hartmann. Liber Chronicarum.


First edition of the Nuremberg Chronicle illustrated with 1809 incunabular woodcuts in first issue.

Copy complete with the 4 blank leaves – extremely rare condition -, very wide-margined, preserved in its 16th century blind-stamped pigskin binding.

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At the end: “Consummatu autem duodecima mensis Iulii. Anno Salutis n’re. 1493. »

Nuremberg, Anton Koberger pour Sebald Schreyer et Sébastien Kammermeister, 12 July 1493.

Large gothic folio [477 x 327 mm] of 326 ll.: (20) preliminary ll., 300 ll. and (6) ll. inserted between ll. 266 and 267. Complete with the 3 blank leaves CCLIX-CCLX and CCLXI. Types: 9; 165 G (head-pieces and running title); 16: 110 bG for the text; text of 64 long lines per page, table of contents and a few pp. of text on double column, many woodcuts including portraits, maps and cityscapes.

Wormholes affecting the 20 prel. ll., wormholes at the beginning of the vol. until l. XXXV and at the end of the vol. from l. CCLXXX, woodcut of the verso of l. 1 partially colored, small waterstain in the upper margin, a few contemporary handwritten annotations in the margins, small tear without loss in the lower margin of ll. XX and XXXIII and of l. CXXXIX, bl. l. CCLXI shorter, stain on l. CCLXIIII.

Blind-stamped pigskin over wooden boards, spine ribbed, metal clasps. 16th century binding.

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First edition of the Nuremberg chronicle illustrated with 1809 woodcuts.

From the first issue, this Latin edition precedes by 5 months the German edition given by Koberger at the end of 1493.

Fairfax Murray, II, 394; Hain 14508; Proctor 2084; B.M.C., II, 437; Muther 424; Schreiber 5203; Dogson, I, 228; Goff S 307; Leclerc, Bibliotheca Americana, 533; BSB-Ink S-195; Bod-inc S-108; GW M40784; Grosjean & O’Connell 102.

Summary of the historical and geographical knowledge of the 1490s, the Nuremberg Chronicle is a great depiction of Europe at the end of the Middle-Ages.

In addition to a very complete history of the main countries and cities, this universal chronicle is full of delectable details; invention of printing, invention of chess, discoveries of Portuguese navigators, construction of important monuments.

“This magnificent volume, known as the “Nuremberg Chronicle”, is one of the most beautiful publications of the 15th century. It is profusely illustrated: it contains 2250 wood-engraved subjects executed by Wolgemuth (Durer’s master) and by W. Pleydenwurff.

This book belongs to our ‘bibliotheca americana’ since it contains information about Portuguese navigations in the 15th century.” (Leclerc, Bibliotheca Americana, 533).

Koberger achieves here a massive editorial venture since the Nuremberg Chronicle, illustrated with 1809 large woodcuts is the most richly illustrated incunabular since the invention of printing.

Illustrated with a large full-page xylographic title, this superb incunabular is illustrated with more than 1800 woodcuts, some repeated, of great beauty and incredible precision.

A multitude of European cities are engraved on double or simple page, most of them being authentic representations of the state of those cities at the end of the 15th century: Jerusalem, Rome, Venice, Florence, Augsburg, Vienna, Nuremberg (345 x 520 mm), Constantinople, Strasbourg, Salzburg, Ulm, Munich, Prague, Basel, Krakow, Lübech (first view of Toulouse), …

31 large woodcuts are on double-page:

Map of the Old World: 308 mm.

Map of Northern Europe: 390 mm.

Emperor and voters: 360 mm.

Large woodcuts notably represent The Creation (222 x 220 mm), God master of the universe (275 x 224 mm), The Creation of Eve, the Expulsion from Paradise, Eve with Cain and Abel

These famous woodcuts are due to Wolgemut, born in Nuremberg in 1434, the master of Albert Durer from 1486 to 1490 and considered as the most eminent painter of his time.

Bibliographers are unanimous in highlighting the quality, richness and importance of the illustration signed by a renowned master, of this incunabular universal chronical.

« The Chronicle and the Schatzbehalter are the two first important books with original illustrations published at Nuremberg and with the exception of Bredenbach, the earliest books printed in Germany of which the woodcuts can be assigned with certainty to a known draughtsman ». Dogson.

The Nuremberg Chronicle possesses 4 blank leaves placed within the text.

Three bear the numbering cclix – cclxi and cclxii as well as the running title “Sexta etas mundi”. The printer Koberger placed them here so that the reader could write notes and comments. They are often missing. A fourth blank leaf follows an unnumbered quire of 5 leaves, thus forming the sixth leaf. This as well is generally missing.

The present copy, very rare fact, is complete with all its blank leaves.

Attractive copy, absolutely complete with the 4 blank leaves that are generally missing, very wide-margined (477 mm high compared to 450 to 455 mm for ordinary copies) – exceptional condition.

The value of the copies incomplete with the 4 blank leaves is less than half than the complete copies.

One of the most spectacular incunabular testimony on 15th century Europe.

Provenance: Ludwig Heinrich Zorn von Plobsheim, 1684; Joh. Becke, Arg. [Strasburg], 1748; Carl Friedrich Schreiber von Cronstern (1711-1795), 1776; Henry Perkins (1778-1855); James Elwin Millard, sale Sotheby’s, November 25, 1890, lot 70, £20, to Rimell.

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SCHEDEL, Hartmann.