The first edition of a famous albeit imaginary woodcut view of an English town, one of the first ever printed, IN FULL EARLY WASH COLOUR. From Hartmann Schedel’s ‘Nuremberg Chronicle’ published in Nuremberg in 1493. The book was published at the height of the Renaissance. Schedel was a physician and editor of the text which is a year-by-year account of notable events in world history from the creation down to the year of publication, with special emphasis on ominous and portentous events including the invention of printing. This woodcut along with the nearly 1800 others are the work of Michael Wohlgemut (1434–1519) and his stepson Wilhelm Pleydenwurff (1460–1494). Wohlgemut is best known to have been the early tutor to Albrecht Durer who was in his workshop at the time of this works production and is generally believed to have contributed to it. The work was printed by Anton Koberger. At the time it was the most profusely illustrated book ever published. This example is from the first edition printed in July 1493 with Latin text, a later issue with German text was published in December of the same year.
Angela Fordham in her article on Town Plans of the British Isles states that the image is believed to be a representation of Dover. However more recent thinking is that it is a generic illustration. This is the second image in the book depicting an English town. The accompanying text describes recent events in English history discussing Henry VII and the Dukes of Suffolk and Somerset, and the beheading of Adam Molynes. There follows a brief description of Scotland clearly first hand as it refers to the fact that when they ‘were there during the winter, when the sun shone upon the earth for a little over three hours’. Ireland is dismissed altogether with ‘At this time we should write something about Ireland, which is separated from England by a small sea, but not having found anything memorable during those times, we hasten on to Spain.’ The verso is mentioned bears a similar woodcut image of ‘Hispania’ and ensuing description. Provenance: acquired from Rainer Schmidt in 1990 for the private collection of Rodney Shirley. Fordham (1965). ‘Town Plans of the British Isles’, in ‘Map Collectors’ Circle’ no. 22 p. 3; Moreland & Bannister pp. 22-4 text translation; Shirley (1991) 6a.(1).