CZECH PORTRAIT GALLERY

Catalogus ducum regumque Bohoemorum in quo summatim gesta singulorum singulis distichis continentur. In super additae sunt eorum facies iconicae, et ad vivum deliniatae.

[Prague, s.n.,] 1540.

Small 4to, ff. [20] (last blank), with 52 circular woodcut portraits of Bohemian rulers (two to a page), large woodcut showing the Imperial eagle crushing a Turk and dated 1540 on verso of title, author’s large woodcut coat-of-arms on recto of penultimate leaf; title re-attached at inner margin and slightly dust-soiled, some light soiling elsewhere, but a good copy in nineteenth-century polished calf; rubbed, rebacked preserving part of spine; spine worn, scuffs to boards.

£3000

Approximately:
US $3746€3547

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Catalogus ducum regumque Bohoemorum in quo summatim gesta singulorum singulis distichis continentur. In super additae sunt eorum facies iconicae, et ad vivum deliniatae.

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First edition of a fine and rare portrait book of the Bohemian (Czech) rulers by the Czech historian Martin Kuthen ze Sprinsberka (c. 1510–1564), with brief contributions by Friedrich Nausea, Johannes Rosinus, Matouš Collinus, and Šimon Villaticus.

The text does not indicate from where the portraits are taken. They may of course be entirely fanciful, but are so individually expressive that it seems doubtful. The largest portrait gallery of Bohemian rulers was to be found at Karlštejn Castle, twenty miles southeast of Prague. In his preface Kuthen suggests that the portrait gallery printed here may be instructive to King Ferdinand’s children, responsibility for whose education had been assumed in 1539 by the humanist Jan Horák (Johannes Hasenberg).

VD16 K2856, locating four copies (Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Gotha, Vienna, and Zwickau). OCLC records only one copy outside Germany and the Czech Republic, at Harvard; Library Hub locates a single copy at the British Library.

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