MÜLLER, Franz Hubert (1784-1835). Die St. Katharinen-Kirche zu Oppenheim. Darmstadt: (plates by Felsing for) the author, 1823-36.
2 volumes, broadside 2° (774 x 585mm) and 2° (515 x 359mm). 40 plates, comprising title, 18 acquatints (9 coloured) and 21 line-engravings (two hand-coloured). (Variable spotting, the window plates unspotted.) Contemporary russia elaborately tooled in gilt and blind, gilt edges, tissue guards to plates (short tear at headcap of text volume).
FIRST EDITION. Müller's remarkable work, rivalled only by Boisserée's on Cologne Cathedral (lot 201) in its ambition and execution, is not only an architectural record of St. Catherine's church, but documents its decoration, in particular its stained glass windows and stone-work, as an example of the flowering of German medieval art. Oppenheim was laid waste in 1689 and the church was left largely untouched throughout the 18th century. Müller inspired a campaign - supported by Goethe - to save the building, and preservation work commenced soon after publication of this work. In reproducing the stained glass Müller pieced together surviving fragments and used medieval sources to reconstruct the lost sections; he also gives an account of the craft and technique of stained glass, considered, in 1823, to be a 'lost art'. The work served as the model for the 1843-5 reconstruction, and continues to be important to art and architectural historians today as providing the most thorough and detailed account of the medieval building and its decoration before various restoration campaigns of the last 2 centuries (cf. R. Beckmann in St. Katharinen zu Oppenheim, eds. Servatius, Steitz and Weber, Oppenheim: 1989, pp.357-405, and Himmelslicht, Europäische Glasmalerei, Cologne: 1998, no. 86). The plates were issued in 8 fascicules of 8 plates each, consisting of an aquatint view of the cathedral, a fully coloured aquatint of a stained glass window, and 3 plates of ornamental or architectural detail, at cost of 13 Thaler, 20 Grosschen per fascicule. Brunet III, 1942 ('bel ouvrage'). (2)