Hartmann Schedel (1440-1514)
Liber chronicarum. Nuremberg: Anton Koberger, for Sebald Schreyer and Sebastian Kammermeister, 12 July 1493.
First edition, from the library of Imperial poet laureate Michael Abel. Humanist, poet and teacher, Abel had studied at Frankfurt-an-der-Oder with Neolatin poet Georg Sabinus, eventually rising to be crowned poet laureate by Rudolph II at Vienna (an honour commemorated in the inscription as p[oetae] L[aureati] Cor[onati]) and serving as court poet there. As the binding of his book with its Lutheran decoration makes clear, Abel was a strong Lutheran; he once fled an early post as tutor owing to a quarrel with a local Catholic priest. The Nuremberg Chronicle is the most extensively illustrated book of the 15th century, with over 1800 woodcuts. An elaborate manuscript exemplar, created to integrate text and illustration, survives, as do the contracts between Koberger and the artists responsible for the illustrations. Albrecht Dürer, godson of Koberger, was an apprentice to Wolgemut from 1486 to 1489 and was almost certainly involved in the production of the woodcuts. On Abel, see John Flood, Poets Laureate in the Holy Roman Empire, a Bio-bibliographical Handbook, 2006, I, pp 11-13 and Supplement, I, p.3. HC *14508; BMC II, 437; CIBN S-161; BSB-Ink. S-195; Bod-inc. S-108; Schreiber 5203; Goff S-307; ISTC is00307000.

Imperial folio (445 x 302mm). 324 leaves (of 326, without blanks 55/6 and 61/6 but with blank 61/5); quire 44 misbound at end, quire 55 [Sarmatian supplement] supplied from other, smaller copies and inserted at the end. 1809 woodcut illustrations printed from 645 blocks (S.C. Cockerell's count, Some German woodcuts of the fifteenth century, 1897, pp.35-6), by Michael Wolgemut, Wilhelm Pleydenwurff and their workshop, including Albrecht Dürer, lombards, major initials rubricated (title mounted on blank verso, repairing marginal wear, short marginal wormtrack in first 3 quires and quires 59-60, some light browning, occasional repaired tears, small stains, small adhesion in one leaf with loss of a few letters, first few quires reinforced at hinge, 19/1v-2r smudged). 16th-century German, possibly Königsberg, blindstamped pigskin over bevelled wooden boards, sides with portrait panels of Luther and Johann Friedrich of Saxony at centre, historiated allegorical, Biblical and Lutheran rolls, none apparently in EBDB but the latter roll identified by Konrad von Rabenau as Haebler I, p.14,19, indicating a Königsberg workshop, c. 1556, in private correspondence laid in (repairs at spine, rubbed, lightly stained, new endpapers, later metal bosses and corner-pieces).
a few early annotations – Michael Abel (1542/3-not before 1609; title inscription as Poet Laureate, 15[72]) – bibliographical notes in an 18th-century hand – Karl Schaub, Hagen, 1930 (author of Mein Holzschnittbuch, privately printed in 25 copies to share his love of the 15-16th-century woodcut; title inscription) – H. Legel (bookplate).
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