This is the second printed view of England, in two woodblocks. The ‘Fasciculus Temporum’ by Werner Rolewinck (1425-1502) was first published in Cologne, 1474. Although Shirley cites the image in the “Nuremberg Chronicle” by Hartmann Schedel he does not list this item which is of an earlier date. It was the first history of the world ever printed, published some twenty years before the better known ‘Nuremberg Chronicle’ by Hartmann Schedel in 1493. Much of the history concerns itself with the biblical period but it was brought right up to date in this and later editions. It synthesises two chronological systems, that of Creation in year 1 and that of Christendom. All together there were some thirty-three incunabula editions. Indeed it is claimed that the ‘Fasciculus’ is only the second printed book by a living author pre-dated only by Robertus Valturius’ ‘De Re Militari’ (1472). The 1474 edition includes the first view of an actual city in a printed book, that of Cologne identified by its unfinished cathedral. Most of the views in this and future editions were in fact imaginary and in some cases were used more than once.
Rolewinck spent more than fifty years of his life in a Carthusian monastery in Cologne. None of the early editions contained a map. It was this same Venice edition by Erhard Ratdolt first published in 1480 which introduced a T-O map. The edition also introduced an imaginary view of “Britannia”. The second edition of 1481 offered here also contained a view but printed from a different block. As elsewhere in the book the block was used to illustrate other towns. An early cataloguer remarked ‘off hand I cannot think of an earlier printed book with an English view …’ The text is in 59 lines of Gothic type with red rubrication. The text on this leaf records the events between the years 194 and 224 AD. Campbell (Early Maps) believes that as printer of the T-O map of 1480 and the first illustrated edition of Pomponius Mela in 1482 Ratdolt may indeed have been the mapmaker and therefore also possibly the producer of these views. Provenance: Pickering & Chatto; private American collection. Refer Campbell nos.91 & 212 & p.221 D11; Goff R264; not in Shirley.