The Fugger family, a family of weavers that had moved to Augsburg in 1367, in the course of the 15th and 16th century became one of Europe's most powerful merchant dynasties. Ennobled at the beginning of the 16th century, the Fuggers started to withdraw step by step from business during the second half of the century. In the decades following 1600 they adopted an aristocratic lifestyle.
In 2009 the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Bavarian State Library) acquired two precious and highly informative books on the family history of the Fuggers. The "Geheimes Ehrenbuch" (secret book of honour) was crafted between 1545 and 1549 by the workshop of the Augsburg painter Jörg Breu d. J. The manuscript impressively illustrates the Fuggers' self-projection and is an outstanding product of late-Renaissance book illustration from the Augsburg workshop. It is regarded as one of the most important and most valuable family books of the German-language area.
The series of copper etchings "Fuggerorum et Fuggerarum… imagines" was published in 1593 and 1618 in a small number of copies for use by the family members. One generation later the idea of the book of honour was thus again taken up in a topical fashion. The coloured print comprises images of 138 members of the family Fugger von der Lilie. The copy acquired by the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek has an unusual quality of coloration and is unique regarding its completeness.