An incunable leaf from the German edition of the Nuremberg Chronicle.
Recto: 25 lines of text in Bastarda Schwabacher typeface printed by letterpress on laid & watermarked rag paper. Below the text is a full width (190x225 mm.) woodcut of the city of Marseille (Massilia), France.
Verso: 49 lines of text and five woodcuts of the philosophers Pherecydes and Pythagoras, the poet Sappho and the prophets Ezekiel and Daniel.
Printer: Anton Koberger, Nuremberg
Content: The leaf is from The Fourth Age of the Chronicle. The main body of the text begins: Marseilles, the city beyond the mountains of Gaul, was built in the first year of the reign of Zedekiah by the Phocaeans who were driven out from elsewhere and came here. In the time of Tarquin the king, there came in ships from Asia into the Tiber young men called Phocaeans, who made friends with the Romans, and then migrated into the land of Gaul, and amidst the Ligurians, the barbarous people of Gaul, built Marseilles. And by force of arms and war against the Gauls (or those whom they formerly overcame), the Phocaeans accomplished great things. The soil not being fertile, these Phocaeans sustained themselves more often on the water than on land by fishing and frequently by piracy, which was an honourable calling at that time. And so they entered the waters of the Rhone in Gaul and sailed to the hinterland beyond the sea, toward the west. And when they saw how pleasant this region was, they returned home and spread the news, and so caused many people to sail there.
Condition: This leaf is in very good condition with full margins all round and sharp impressions of the woodcuts. There is the expected edge browning and soiling in the bottom right corner from page-turning - which is masked off by the mat - but the text and woodcuts are virtually unblemished. There is an 8 cm. professionally repaired tear in the bottom margin which does not intrude into the text or woodcut.
The leaf is unconditionally guaranteed genuine.
Size: Leaf: 475x330 mm. Text and woodcut: 360x225 mm. Presented in a museum quality mat, ready for framing. Please note that packing and postage is invoiced separately. Within Australia: $27.50. Overseas: ask for quote.
Notes: Author: Hartmann Schedel (1440–1514)
Woodcut illustrators: Michael Wolgemut and Wilhelm Pleydenwurff (with the assistance of their studio apprentices, including the young Albrecht Dürer).
Publisher and printer: Anton Koberger, 1493, Nuremberg
One of the most famous early illustrated books, this ambitious text chronicles the history of the world, from the Creation to 1493. It is considered to be the first book to successfully integrate illustrations and text. The contents are divided into seven ages:
First age: from Creation to the Deluge
Second age: up to the birth of Abraham
Third age: up to King David
Fourth age: up to the Babylonian captivity
Fifth age: up to the birth of Jesus Christ
Sixth age: up to the present time (i.e. 1493)
Seventh age: outlook on the end of the world and the Last Judgement.
This monumental work is more than simply a fine example of the skills of early printers and illustrators, it also reflects the spirit of its time. While on the one hand it demonstrates the influence of Renaissance humanism, it also shows a society in the process of transformation from medieval to modern and from a scribal culture to a print culture.
The Chronicle was originally published in Latin in 1493, and a German edition followed later that year. The Latin edition was printed using a typeface known as Antiqua Rotunda, while the German employed Bastarda Schwabacher.
Scholars estimate that approximately 1400-1500 Latin copies and 700-1000 German ones were printed.
The woodcut of Marseille was also used in the Chronicle to represent the cities of Trier and Padua.
References: Goff S307, ISTC No. is00307000 Incunabula Short Title Catalogue, British Library.
Item No. PSE 064