PFINTZING, Melchior (1481-1535). Die geuerlicheiten und einsteils der geschichten des loblichen streytparen und hochberumbton helds und Ritters herz Tewrdannckhs. Nuremberg: Hans Schönsperger the Elder, .
2° (355 x 243mm). Calligraphic type attributed to the design of Vinzenz Rockner, secretary at the court of Maximilian, elaborate flourishes. 118 large woodcuts by Schäufelein, Beck, Burgkmair and possibly 3 others. With correction slip pasted on A6v and on A8r. (Lacking p.5 [supplied in facsimile], a few flourishes just shaved, a few marginal tears, one into flourish without loss, occasional small stains, some spotting, a little light soiling at beginning and end, small marginal wormhole in b1-4.) 16/17th-century German roll-tooled pigskin over bevelled wooden boards, front board centred with gilt-tooled red leather medallion, blue edges (medallion worn, rubbed, front hinge amateurly repaired, without two fore-edge clasps). Provenance: Manchester, Chetham's Library (bookplates, stamps).
FIRST EDITION of this privately-printed chivalric poem celebrating the heroic deeds of Emperor Maximilian, ONE OF THE FINEST ILLUSTRATED BOOKS OF THE GERMAN RENAISSANCE. It forms part of a trilogy, along with Weisskunig and Freydal, but was the only one of the three to be published during Maximilian's lifetime. The emperor is represented in the poem as Theuerdank, portrayed overcoming the difficulties of his journey to win his bride, Mary of Burgundy (Kunigin Ernreich in the poem). Maximilian himself was closely involved in all aspects of Tewrdanck, from its composition to its distribution after printing. He had completed first drafts in 1505-1508 and turned over the completion and general editing of the work to Melchior Pfintzing, his private secretary. Maximilian called Schönsperger from Augsburg to Nuremberg to print the work in the imperial city (the only work Schönsperger printed there); at least part of its paper stock was made specifically for the edition and bears a watermark of the double eagle with arms of Austria and Burgundy; a remarkable series of woodcut illustrations -- among the finest of the German Renaissance -- were cut, commissioned from some of the greatest woodcut artists of the day, Schäufelein, Beck and Burgkmair; and a calligraphic type was specially cast to print it. The design of the type is traditionally attributed to Vinzenz Rockner, Maximilan's court secretary. No copies of the first edition were available for sale. 'The whole stock of copies lay in six chests at Augsburg until March 1526, when the Archduke Ferdinand decided to distribute, through Marx Treitzsauerwein, the contents of five of the chests to different German subjects as memorials of the late Emperor. The other chestful the archduke kept for himself' (Davies, Murray, German). Adams P-962; Brunet V: 787; Davies, Murray, German 329.