5. Hartmann Schedel. Liber chronicarum cum figuris et ymaginibus ab inicio mundi. Nuremberg, Anton Koberger, 1493.
A large paper copy of the first edition of the greatest illustrated book of the fifteenth century. The Nuremberg Chronicle, as the book is commonly known, features an amazing 1,809 woodcut illustrations, including numerous two-page views of the great cities of Europe, executed by Michael Wohlgemuth, Albrecht Dürer's one-time teacher, and his step-son Wilhelm Pleydenwurff. The text itself, a chronological account of important events of world history, covers the exploration of the Atlantic and of Africa. Anton Koberger, the printer, built up the largest of all fifteenth century printing firms, employing up to twenty-four presses. The Nuremberg Chronicle, issued in both German and in Latin, was his magnum opus, and ranks as a landmark in the history of printing. The University has examples of both German and Latin versions. Displayed is one of the few surviving copies containing illuminated initials and in the original boards.
R.A. Morton bequest, 1969.
6. Claudius Ptolemaeus. Cosmographia. Ulm, Lienhart Holle, 1482.
A hand-coloured copy of the first German printed atlas with woodcut maps. The Ptolemaic conception of the universe, in which the Earth is depicted as a round sphere encircled by the planets and sun, formed the cosmological basis for literary works by Chaucer, Milton, and Dante, and dominated western cartography until it was superseded by Mercator's Atlas in the sixteenth century. The great Ulm Ptolemy, published by Leinhart Holle, was the first to address the problems of printing in relief map illustrations, and in doing so became the model for numerous other cartographical editions featuring woodcut maps. In addition to the canonical 27 Ptolemaic maps cut after the design of Nicolaus Germanus, The University's copy has the five additional maps which depict Spain, France, Italy, the Holy Land, and Modern Europe. Indeed, the last is of particular importance, as it features the first depiction of Greenland. The Ulm Ptolemy is regarded as one of the masterpieces of the printers' art, with its bold, decorative maps and distinctive "Maiblumen" initials known only in Ulm publications. The book is displayed open at the famous double-page world map, with the engraved signature of Johann von Arnheim.
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edited by Katy Hooper, 2006