• The Wolfgang A. Herz Library:  auction at Christies

    Sale 2158

    The Wolfgang A. Herz Library: Important Voyages and Travels

    9 December 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 41

    SCHEDEL, Hartmann (1440-1514). Liber chronicarum, translated by Georg Alt (c. 1450-1510): Das buch der Cronicken und gedechtnus wirdigern geschihten. [With contributions by Hieronymus Münzer (1437-1508).] Illustrations by Michael Wolgemut, Wilhelm Pleydenwurff [and Albrecht Dürer]. Nuremberg: Anton Koberger for Sebald Schreyer and Sebastian Kammermeister, 23rd December 1493.

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    SCHEDEL, Hartmann (1440-1514). Liber chronicarum, translated by Georg Alt (c. 1450-1510): Das buch der Cronicken und gedechtnus wirdigern geschihten. [With contributions by Hieronymus Münzer (1437-1508).] Illustrations by Michael Wolgemut, Wilhelm Pleydenwurff [and Albrecht Dürer]. Nuremberg: Anton Koberger for Sebald Schreyer and Sebastian Kammermeister, 23rd December 1493.

    Imperial 2o (428 x 298 mm). Collation: [110 (1 xylographic title Register Des buchs, 2-10 index); 26 3-54 6-96 102 114 12-146 152 16-176 18-234 24-276 282 296 304 31-336 342 354 36-506 51-524 (chronicle); 53-566 (-56/6 blank) 572 (supplement, map and colophon)]. [10], CCLXXXVI [1] leaves. Gothic types 9:165 (headings) and 24:111 (text), the latter specially cut for this edition, 59 lines and headline to a full page. Some 1809 woodcuts printed from about 645 blocks (Sydney Cockerell's count in the Latin edition), including a full-sheet map of Europe, a Ptolemaean world map, large and small city views, biblical and historical scenes, portraits, etc. MOST ILLUSTRATIONS COLORED IN THE MID-17TH CENTURY, INCLUDING SOME HEIGHTENED IN GOLD AND/OR SILVER, BY FRANS KOERTEN, the remainder colored by a later hand. (Lower outer blank corner of title-leaf replaced, worming at beginning and end, a few early manuscript marginalia cropped, tear in 18/3, roman misnumbering of fo. CLII corrected, small hole in the view of Würzburg, map strengthened at fold.) 18th-century German binding of blind-tooled pigskin over pasteboard, blue edges.

    Provenance: Frans Koerten (1603-68), illuminator, bookseller and collector, whose stock and private collection was sold at auction in Amsterdam in 1668 (the apparently unique copy of the catalogue survives at the Bibliothèque nationale de France); his inscription on a fly-leaf or paste-down was transferred and mounted above the colophon on 57/2v at the time of rebinding: Dit boeck ter eeren heb Ick de beelden meest gheclurt en afgheset bevele op hooge pene het selve in eeren te houden op dat het de tijt mocht verduren bij mij Frans Coerten liefhebber der outheit [In honor of this book I have colored and illuminated most images and stipulate that great pains be taken to conserve it so that it may survive its time in my possession]. The book was lot 56 in the sale and catalogued as: doorgaens met seer heerlijck afgesette beelden en figuren [generally with the illustrations finely colored]; unfortunately the binding was not described - Johann Georg Waller (1806 inscription recording a gift from Franz Schmied) - Martin Kuppitsch, Viennese bookseller, sold to - Chr. Latour (1845 purchase inscription) - Joseph Salzer of Vienna (ink stamps) - Fritz Hutter of Bad Ischl, who sold in 1937 to - Antiquariat V.A. Heck (export label, recording a sale to) - Rush Taggert of New Canaan, Connecticut (purchased at Swann Galleries 20 October 1977, lot 207).

    FIRST EDITION IN GERMAN rarer than Koberger's first Latin edition of five months earlier, of the most extensively illustrated book of the 15th century, a masterpiece of complex design. Two hands were involved in the coloring of this splendid copy. The majority of the cuts, including all those heightened in gold or silver, were colored by the famous illuminator and collector of the Dutch Golden Age, Frans Koerten (see his inscription transcribed above), who used intense and often darkish colors, a palette that can be seen in many examples of 17th-century Netherlandish series of engravings. He tended to color rather fully, including the creation cuts at the beginning, the two maps and the most important views. (Exceptionally for his time, Koerten's taste in collecting ran to early printed and illustrated books.) The second hand, which presumably dates from the same period as the binding, employed a lighter palette and worked in a less powerful manner, leaving more of the illustrations plain. A HIGHLY INTERESTING AND WELL-DOCUMENTED COPY IN CRISP AND UNWASHED CONDITION, THE COLORS FRESH AND BRIGHT. BMC II, 437-438; CIBN S-163; Goff S-309; H 14510*. A. Wilson, The making of the Nuremberg Chronicle (Amsterdam 1976). B. van Selm, "The auction catalogue of Frans Koerten's books (1668)" in: Theatrum orbis librorum. Liber amicorum Nico Israel (1989) pp. 477-491.


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