BREYDENBACH, Bernhard von (d.1497). Peregrinatio in terram sanctam. Translated and edited by Nicolas le Huen: Des sainctes peregrinations de iherusalem. Lyons: Michel Topié & Jacques Heremberck, 28 November 1488.
Chancery 2° (291 x 203 mm). 132 (of 134) leaves (lacking S9-10 blanks). Type 1:140G (heading), 2:100-101B (text). 40 lines. Many floriated 9-line and 4-line white-on-black woodcut initials, printer's device (Meyer 63). 4 (of 7) engraved full- or multi-sheet engraved city views, 15 text woodcuts (11 flanked by borderpieces). (Lacking plates of Venice, Modon, and Rhodes, all supplied in pencil facsimile, all others with margins renewed, Candia creased, Jerusalem with repaired tears crossing image.) (k6 with marginal repaired tear crossing intial and text.) 19th-century red straight-grained morocco gilt, edges gilt, stamp signed by Koeler (somewhat scuffed, a few pale stains). Provenance: Nicholas Yemeniz (1783-1871, bibliophile; binding, book-label, Catalogue de la Bibliotheque de M. N. Yemeniz, sale Paris, 9-27 May 1867, lot 2689).
FIRST FRENCH EDITION OF THE FIRST FRENCH BOOK WITH ENGRAVINGS, AND THE FIRST BOOK FROM THIS PRESS. The expansive city views have in this edition been rendered as copperplate engravings, though the illustrations in text are woodcuts, following the Erhard Reuwich images of the 1486 first, Latin edition. The engravings are elaborately detailed, identifying specific buildings and sites.
Breydenbach was dean of Mainz Cathedral; the Peregrinatio contains the journal of his pilgrimage to Palestine and Mount Sinai undertaken in 1483-84 in the company of Count John of Solms, Philip of Bicken, and other noblemen of the region. The account contains a wealth of useful information on places in and on the way to the Holy Land, and on distances, local customs, alphabets, etc., making it in effect one of the earliest printed guide books. The remarkable multi-block panaromic woodcut views are printed here from the original blocks of the first edition, printed in Mainz by Erhard Reuwich in February 1486 (the Armenian alphabet cut first appeared in Reuwich's German edition from the summer of the same year). These are the first detailed printed representations of most of the towns depicted, and are notable for being the earliest example of book illustrations whose artist is known: the woodcuts were based on the drawings of the painter Erhard Reuwich, a native of Utrecht, who accompanied the expedition as its official artist, and who borrowed or leased Peter Schoeffer's types for the printing of the first edition. Reuwich is not identified as the illustrator of any other works, but certain similarities in technique have led to recent suggestions that he may be identified with the anonymous "Hausbuchmeister" (cf., for example, R. W. Fuchs, "Mainzer Frühdrucke mit Buchholzschnitten", Archiv für Geschichte des Buchwesens 2 (1960), pp. 31-70). BMC VIII 288; Davies 8; Goff B-1192; C 1337=3538; Fairfax Murray French 624; GW 5080.