SCHEDEL, Hartmann (1440-1514). Liber Chronicarum. Nuremberg: Anton Koberger for Sebald Schreyer and Sebastian Kammermeister, 12 July 1493.
Imperial 2° (432 x 300mm). Collation: [1-26 38; 46 5-74 8-116 122 134 14-166 172 18-196 20-254 26-296 302 316 324 33-356 362 374 38-616] (1/1 xylographic title-page, 1/1v blank, 2/1 index, 4/1r Creation-Ultimate Age of the World, 53/5-6 and 54/1 blank except for printed headlines, 54/6v blank, 55/1r Sarmatian supplement, 55/5v verse on the exploits of Maximilian, 55/6 blank, 56/1r supplements to the Sixth Age and description of Europe, 61/3v-4r map of Europe, 61/4v colophon, 61/5-6 blank). 326 leaves (of 328, without final two blanks). 64 lines and headline, table and parts of text double column. Types: 9:165G (headlines and headings), 16:110bG (text). 1809 woodcut illustrations printed from 645 blocks (S.C. Cockrell's count, Some German Woodcuts of the Fifteenth Century, Kelmscott Press: 1897, pp.35-6) by Michael Wolgemut, Wilhelm Pleydenwurff and their workshop, including Albrecht Dürer, major initials supplied in red ink in a contemporary hand, paragraph marks and capital strokes in red. (Some early marginal repairs, 2/1.6 rehinged, neat tear repaired in 2/1, a few leaves repaired at inner margin, a few wormholes in first and last quires, occasional light spotting or faint staining.) 16th-century German blind-tooled pigskin over wooden boards, top spine compartment lettered in manuscript, brass catches and clasps (rubbed, one strap starting to split); modern green morocco-backed folding box. Provenance: an early reader (manuscript shelf label, 17th-century cancelled inscription on front pastedown, occasional annotations).
FIRST EDITION of the most extensively illustrated book of the 15th century, with over 1800 woodcuts. The publication history of the Nuremberg Chronicle is perhaps the best documented of any book printed of that period. Not only do the contracts between Schedel and his financial partners Sebald Schreyer and Sebastian Kammermaister, and Schedel and the artists survive in the Nuremberg Stadtsbibliothek, but so too do detailed manuscript exemplars of both Latin and German editions. The two editions were planned simultaneously, each with its own specially designed, new type, and both with the same woodcuts; the Latin edition preceded the German by about 5 months (see following lot for the German edition). Albrecht Dürer, godson of Koberger, is believed to have worked on the woodcuts, since he was apprenticed to Wolgemut from 1486 to 1489. (See A. Wilson, The Making of the Nuremberg Chronicle, Amsterdam: 1976.)
Celebrated for its fine and profuse woodcut illustrations, the Nuremberg Chronicle includes two double-page maps: a world map (Shirley 19) based on Mela's Cosmographia (1482), and a map of northern and central Europe by Hieronymus Münzer (1437-1508) after Nicolas Khyrpffs. The world map is one of only three 15th-century maps showing Portuguese knowledge of the Gulf of Guinea of about 1470. The map of Europe is closely associated with Nicolas of Cusa's Eichstätt map, with which it is thought to share a common manuscript source of c. 1439-54. It is therefore claimed to be the first modern map of this region to appear in print. Although published later than the map of Germany in the 1482 Ulm Ptolemy, it was constructed earlier (Campbell, The Earliest Printed Maps, 1472-1500, 1987). HC *14508; BMC II, 437 (IC. 7451-3); Polain(B) 3469; CIBN S-161; BSB-Ink. S-195; Bod-Inc. S-108; Schreiber 5203; Goff S-307.