Nuremberg city views from 1600 to 1850

Nuremberg, a centre of the art of letterpress printing from the very beginning, experienced a renewed upswing as a production and publishing location from 1650 to 1750. Nuremberg also played a decisive role in the development of the art trade as a branch of the book trade.

One prominent position was given to serial views of the topography of Nuremberg, the neighbouring town of Fürth and the "old Nuremberg" landscape. The series of vedute sequences described by Christian Gottlieb Müller in his relevant bibliography Index of Nuremberg Topographical and Historical Copper Engravings and Woodcuts which dates back to 1821 are almost completely available in the city library on the Nuremberg Education Campus. 70 titles are shown in 76 volumes in bavarikon.

As a result of the acquisition of several private libraries rich in local literature at the beginning of the 19th century, and in keeping with the spirit of historical retrospection at that time, the city library developed the collection focal point Norica – literature from and about Nuremberg. In the course of a reorganisation of these Norica collections of different provenance, which began after 1850, bound illustration series were collated in the signature group Norica Copper (Nor. K.). The base stock in the Nor. K. collection was arranged in chronological order, ascending by year of origin, later new acquisitions were organised by years of acquisition. The editions in the Stoer-Stier (Stoer.) and Georg Andreas Will (Will.) libraries remained unaffected.

Some of the copper engraving sequences, especially in the Nor. K. segment, are presented as the collector's individual compilations, mostly based on the original publisher's or the artist's own editions. Often the printed or engraved title page is missing, which is sometimes supplemented by hand or mounted on the cover. Multiple copies that can be assigned to the same edition often vary with regard to the sequence of the engravings, completeness, double-bound engravings, variations of individual sheets due to slight modifications of the printing plates, individual additionally bound engravings of other editions, etc. A specific feature of such sequences for a limited subject is that divergent editions sometimes contain identical engravings, as the printing plates were sold or exchanged by artists and publishers and often reused over many decades, also in the form of re-engravings. The most complete and most attractive copy, e.g. due to colouration, is presented in digital form.

This city library's collection preserves basic image sources on the topography, architecture and cultural life of the city of Nuremberg and its surroundings. In the overall exhibition, a canon of characteristic sceneries and ensembles of mostly pre-1650 monuments emerges, which, in the stylistic change from the early 17th to the beginning of the 19th century, depicted in the personal handwriting of various artists using the latest printing techniques, define the typical medieval townscape of Nuremberg and trace changes in the cityscape over a period of more than 200 years. Today, these images are a time capsule of "old Nuremberg", which was irreparably destroyed in the night of the bombing on 2 January 1945.

>> This collection is part of the Stadtbibliothek Nürnberg (Nuremberg City Library).