Feature of the month: commemorating Hartmann Schedel

Liber cronicarum
Hartmann Schedel
Augsburg: J. Schönsperger, 1497
[Incunabula] 107

The year 2014 marks the 500th anniversary of the death, on 28 November, of the German humanist and historian Hartmann Schedel (1440-1514), best known for his “Nuremberg Chronicle”. So called because its first publication, in 1493, was in Nuremberg, this folio is a large, lavishly illustrated history of the world in seven ages from the Creation to the late fifteenth century. This 1497 edition (“Der kleine Schedel”; i.e. “the little Schedel”) is more modest. It has forty more leaves, but the paper is inferior, the text is more heavily abbreviated, the leaf and print size are smaller and the size of the woodcuts is also reduced. The text is in two columns throughout. Although its survival rate is high, the title is considerably rarer than its more sumptuous 1493 predecessor. The Senate House Library copy is distinguished by light contemporary manuscript annotations and corrections.

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