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1696 Children’s Pictorial New Testament with Petite Copper-Plate Engravings


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43.     [BIBLE IN GERMAN]. NEW TESTAMENT. GOSPELS. Biblische Augen-und Seelen-Lust. Das ist die heilige Geschichte neuen Testaments in Kupffer abgebildet und gestochen auch mit heiligen Andachte gezieret. Der Christlichen Jugend zu erbaulicher Ergezung. Augsburg: Christoph Weigel, 1696. 102 leaves (F8, G-L18, M4), 102 copper-plate engravings by Christoph Weigel (including frontispiece, title, and 100 miniature engravings on rectos of scenes from the New Testament with engraved German text consisting of five-line Bible verse beneath each image, most illustrations measure approximately 5 x 4.2 cm). 18mo (10.3 x 6.5 cm), near contemporary full brown calf, spine gilt, raised bands, a.e.g., purple and gold wallpaper endpapers. Gilt on spine mostly rubbed away, slight defect to head of spine, joints rubbed, upper joint starting, corners bumped, moderate shelf wear, front free endpaper missing, front hinge starting, interior very fine and engravings strong. Recto of frontispiece with later pencil note “Brueggeman.” Very rare.

     First edition. Bauer, Weigel 8. Not in Wegehaupt, Alte Deutsche Kinderbüchen 1507-1850. The publisher put out a similar work on the Old Testament the same year, of which this is apparently the second volume, though seldom found and with sparse institutional holdings. The Weigel firm also produced a Bible in larger format with over eight hundred engravings, the Biblia Ectypa, around this time, another work with different illustrations, but which apparently inspired this one for children.

     The extremely detailed and meticulously executed diminutive engravings are the work of Christoph Weigel (1654-1725), map and print engraver, illustrator, goldsmith, and publisher, who worked in Augsburg and Nuremberg. He published about seventy books in his lifetime and engraved hundreds of maps for cartographic publishers including imperial geographer and cartographer Johann Baptist Homann. Bénézit, Vol. VIII, p. 696. Tooley’s Dictionary of Mapmakers, revised edition, Vol. IV, p. 367.

     The present engravings, meant to teach the Bible to children, are quite complex in their minute renderings, capturing great detail such as architecture, material culture, and costume, while deftly revealing expression and emotion. They are also filled with traditional Christian iconography, and the engraved calligraphy below each image is graceful and handsome. Many of the images are very creative, such as one with the Devil tempting Jesus, and another in Revelations with a tiny bird’s-eye view of the New Jerusalem. The text opposite each illustration contains a synopsis of what is being illustrated.


Sold. Hammer: $1,000.00; Price Realized: $1,200.00

Auction 22 Abstracts

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