SCHEDEL, HARTMANN. 1440-1514.
Liber chronicarum. Nuremberg: Anton Koberger, for Sebald Schreyer and Sebastian Kammermeister, July 12 1493.
Folio (425 x 295 mm). [***6 ***8 a6 bd4 eh6 i2 k4 ln6 o2 pq6 ry4 z6 aacc6 dd2 ee6 ff4 ggii6 kk2 ll4 mmzz6 AM6(-M5,6)]. 326 leaves (of 328, without the final 2 blanks, but including the supplement "De Sarmacia," the blank between folios 266-7, and the 3 folios 259-261 blank except for headlines and foliation). 64 lines plus headline. Gothic letter. Several initials supplied in red. Myriad woodcut illustrations by Wohlgemut, Pleydenwurff and Albrecht Dürer, 29 double-page town views, 8 full-page woodcuts, and double-page maps of the World [Shirley 19] and of Europe by Hieronymus Münzer after Nicolas Khrypffs. Period blindstamped pig, traces of mountings for bosses and corner-pieces, upper cover centered with 17th century gilt arms of the city of Regensburg. Early marginalia throughout and annotations to title, the double-page views mounted on stubs and with pale waterstain at foot of gutter, approximately a dozen leaves lightly waterstained, a handful of early minor repairs to holes or edge tears, "Destruction of Jerusalem" trimmed at right edge, folio 285 toned, the Northern Europe and Russia map creased, taped at fore-edge on verso with inch-long sliver of loss, lacking one clasp.
Provenance: Johannes Schwab of Slärching on the Danube (ownership inscription to title); Christopher Sigismund Dondue of Regensburg (ownership inscription to title); Franciscus de Battssan. of Cologne, 1633 (ownership inscriptions on title and at length on folio 258); James Comerford (bookplate); his sale, Sotheby's London, November 18, 1881, lot 927; Bernardine Murphy [1904-1968] (bookplate).
FIRST EDITION OF THE MOST LAVISHLY ILLUSTRATED BOOK OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY, with 1,809 woodcut illustrations printed from 645 blocks, according to the count of S.C. Cockerell (Some German Woodcuts of the Fifteenth Century, Kelmscott Press: 1897). The artists Wohlgemut and Pleydenwurff are mentioned in the colophon; at the time they were producing the cuts, Albrecht Dürer was apprenticed to Wohlgemut's studio.
The illustrations were in fact the catalyst for the project. The two engravers approached Koberger with the idea for the Chronicle, and by securing sponsors persuaded him to undertake the printing. Some 2,000 copies were printed in Latin, followed five months later by a German language edition of the same size. So successful was the work that several pirated editions appeared. BMC II, 437 (IC. 7451-3); Goff S-307; HC *14508.