Prussia woodcut - Nuremberg Chronicle leaf


An incunable leaf from the 1497 "pirated" version of The Nuremberg Chronicle

Recto: Text in Latin printed in two columns by letterpress on laid and watermarked paper. One full width woodcut illustration of “Prussia, now a Province of Germany”.  See images below

Verso:  As Recto, text only.  Verso image below

Printer: Johann Schönsperger, Augsburg.          


Date:  1497  


Content:  The Chronicle’s commentary on the woodcut says in part: After the Massagetae we encounter the Prussians. They live on both sides of the Vistula. It has its source in the mountains which separate Poland from Hungary, and waters a portion of the latter. It flows through Prussia from Dorn to Danzig, where it discharges into the sea. 


Condition:  This leaf is in good condition with original margins all round, a sharp impression and a strong watermark.  A slight water stain at bottom left is not intrusive.  The leaf is unconditionally guaranteed genuine.


Size: Size of leaf: approx. 285x200 mm. Text area including heading: approx. 235x145 mm. Mat size: 410x315 mm.  Presented in a museum quality mat, ready to frame.  Certificate of Authenticity. Packing & insured post within Australia: $22.50.  Overseas: ask for quote. 


Notes:  Johann Schönsperger (c. 1455-before 1521) was a publisher who lived in Augsburg, quite near Nuremberg. Schönsperger specialised in "reprints" and saw the potential in publishing a cheaper version of the Chronicle. He did so, in 1496, producing a German version with exactly the same text and number of images. To make it affordable, Schönsperger published it in a smaller format (190x280 mm. as opposed to Koberger's much larger 300x420 mm.), used cheaper paper and reduced the size and complexity of the woodcut images.

His pirated version sold extremely well, so well, in fact, that a planned revised edition of the Chronicle by Schreyer and Koberger was scrapped. A year later Schönsperger sought to capture the academic market with his Latin version. In 1500, because the German reprint of 1496 had sold so well, Schönsperger produced a second edition of the German version.


References:   Goff S 308                                                                       

Item No: PSE 044

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