Habitus praecipuorum populorum, Jost AMMAN, Hans WEIGEL.
Habitus praecipuorum populorum,
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Habitus praecipuorum populorum,

Nuremberg: Hans Weigel, 1577. Item #03369

One of the Great Classics of Costume History
Fifty-Three Sixteenth Century Hand-Colored Plates - Heightened with Gold

[AMMAN, Jost]. Habitus praecipuorum populorum, tam virorum quam foeminarum Singulari arte depicti. Trachtenbuch: Darin fast allerley und der fürnembsten Nationen/die heutigs tags bekandt sein/Kleidungen beyde wie es bey Manns und Weibspersonen gebreuchlich/mit allem viess abgerissen sein/sehr lustig und kurtzweilig zusehen. Nuremberg: Hans Weigel, 1577.

First Edition (fragment) of one of the classics of Costume History.

Folio (12 1/4 x 7 15/16 inches; 311 x 201 mm.). A fine collection of 53 (of 219) 16th century costume plates with contemporary hand-coloring heightened with gold.

Chemised in a full brown morocco clamshell case by Sangorski & Sutcliffe.

Manuscript calligraphic title leaf: "Habitus praecipuorum populorum tam virorum quam feminarum singulari arte depicti. Trachtenburch etc. Nurnberg, bey Hans Weigel, Formschneider. 1577. Plates (53) from a series of 219 engraved on wood by Hans Weigel after Jost Amman. One of the early classics of costume history. The present fragment is particularly interesting not only for its contemporary colouring but from the fact that its first English owner annotated it in a late 16th century hand."

Together with a hand written letter (in envelope post-marked Oct. 20, 1947) from James Laver of the Victoria & Albert Museum to Sir Robert Bignold, dated October 20th, 1947: "Dear Sir Robert Bignold, / I have got the National / Book League to let me have / a duplicate card of the / catalogue entry of the / book fragment you were so / kind as to lend for the / exhibition. Many thanks / indeed. / Yours sincerely / James Laver." The original card description and National Book League slip are included as well as a copy of the National Book League League exhibition catalog 'The Literature of Fashion. An Exhibition arranged by James Laver (November 21, 1947 to January 3, 1948, item No. 4). The original catalog entry reads: Habitus praecipuorum popularum tam virorum quam feminarum singulari arte depicti. Trachtenbuch, etc. Nurnberg, bey Hans Weigel, Formscneider. 1577. Plates (53) from a series of 219 engraved on wood by Hans Weigel after Jost Amman. Lent by Sir Robert Bignold. One of the early classics of costume history. The present fragment is particularly interesting not only for its contemporary colouring but from the fact that its first English owner annotated it in a late sixteenth century hand.

The plates:

1. XX. Mercatoris Uxor Domi. "A Merchants Wife".
2. XXI. Foemina Norimbergensis, in Quotidiano Habitu. "A Woman of Nuremburgh in her Daily Habit".
3. XXIX. Augustana Mulier Plebeia. "An Augustam Woman of the Common Sort".
4. LVIII. Virgo Dantiscana. "A Virgin of Dantrick".
5. LXI. Civis ex Hoenesta Familia in Salinis Sueuicis. "A Citizen of a Good Family in the Salt Mines of Switzerland".
6. LXII. Honesti Civis Uxor Halensis in Sueuia. "The Wife of a Substantial Citizen in Switzerland".
7. LXXIX. Patricius Sive Senator Coloniensis. "A Senator of Colon"
8. LXXX. Patricia vel Nobilis Coloniensis ad Rhenum. "A Noble Woman of Colloin on the Rhine".
9. LXXXII. Foemina Mediocris Conditionis Coloniensis ad Rhenum. "A Woman of Middle Rank of Colloin on the Rhine".
10. LXXXV. Mulier Ivuenis Brabantica. "A Young Woman of Brabant".
11. LXXXIX. Civis Gruningensis in Pharisia. "A Citizen of Grunvonburgh in Pharisia".
12. XC. Hollundus vel Belga. "An Hollander or Belgian".
13. XCVII. Foemina Honesta Genevensis. "A Woman of Good [?] in Geneva".
14. CIX. Nobilis Virgo Ex Anglia. "A Noble - Virgin of England".
15. CX. Nobilis Anglus. "An English-Nobleman".
16. CXIII. Senator Genuensis. "A Senator of Genoa".
17. CXIIII. Dux Venetus. "Duke of Benict.
18. CXXVIII. Vidua Lugens in Italia. "Mourning Widow in Italy".
19. CXXIX. Mulier Veronensis. "A Woman of Verona".
20. CXXXI. Nobilis Patavina in Italia. "A Noble Woman of Padua".
21. CXXXIX. Vidua Senensis in Hetruria. "A Widow of Sitna in Tuscany".
22. CXLI. Curtisana Sive Meretrix Romana. "A Roman Whore or Courtisan".
23. CXLIIII. Mulier Caietensis in Italia. "A Woman of Cajetta in Italy".
24. CXLV. Nobilis Foemina Neapoli tana in Italia. "A Noble Woman of Naples in Italy".
25. CXLVI. Virgo Neapolitana in Italia. "A Virgin of Naples in Italy".
26. CL. Hispanici Vestitus & Habitus Varij Hispanus. "Divers Spanish Habits and Ornaments. A Spaniard".
27. CLI. Hispanus Praefectus vel Minister Regis Hispaniae. "A Spanish Govenor or Minister of State".
28. CLII. Mulier Hispanica. "A Spanish Woman".
29. CLIII. Hispanus Plebeius in Quotidiano Habitu. "A Spanish Countryman in his every day Habit".
30. CLIIII. Hispanus Sacerdos. "A Spanish Priest".
31. CLV. Ivuenis et Virgo Piscaiensis Sive Cantabrica. "A Young, and Virgin of Piscaia or Biscay".
32. CLVI. Rusticus Piscaiensis vel Cantaber. "A Rustic, or Peasant of Biscay".
33. CLVII. Hispana Rustica. "A Spanish Country-woman".
34. CLVIII. Mulier Piscaiensis Sive Cantabra. "A Woman of Piscaia, or Biscay".
35. CLIX. Hispana Mulier Plebeia. "A Spanish Woman of the Vulgar Sort".
36. CLX. Sacerdotis Hispanici Concubinae Vestitus. "The Habit of a Spanish Priest his Concubine".
37. CLXI. Mulier Hispana in Forum Progrediens. "A Spanish Woman going to Market".
38. CLXII. Rustica Mulier Hispanica. "A Spanish Country Woman".
39. CLXIII. Mauritana in Betica Sive Granatensi Regno. "A Mauritanian Woman in Bota".
40. CLXIIII. Mauritana in Domestico Vestitu Betica Sive Granatensis. "A Mauritanian Woman in her Domestic Attire".
41. ,CLXVI. Rustica Ungarica. "An Hungarian Country Woman".
42. CLXVII. Mercator in Russia. "A Merchant of Russia".
43. CLXVIII. Mercatoris Habitus in Russia, Moscovia & Polonia. "The Habit of a Merchant in Russia, Muscobi, & Polonia".
44. CLXIX. Foemina Nobilis Polonica. "A Noble Woman of Poland".
45. CLXX. Mulier Posnaniensis in Polonia. "A Woman of Poson in Poland".
46. CLXXV. Mulier Tartara. "A Tartarian Woman".
47. CLXXVI. Mauritanus ex Arabia. "A Mauritanian of Arabia".
48. CLXXVII. Virgo Afra. "An African Virgin".
49. CLXXVIII. Mulier Vidua Afra. "An African Widow"
50. CLXXIX. Xingara Vulgo Dicta. "A Woman Vulgarly Called a Tawny-Morr".
51. CLXXXII. Brasiliani ex America Armati Habitus. "The Habit of a Brasil-Man Arrived in America".
52. CLXXXVI. Graecus Sacerdos. "A Grecian Priest".
53. CXC. Praefectus Tyronum in Aula Turcica, Qui xex Christianias Parentibus Nati Sunt. "The Overseer of the Youth in The Turkish Court, That are Born of Christian Parents".

Very rare first edition of an exceedingly rare hand-colored copy of an encyclopedic Trachtenbuch with 51 full-page woodcut portraits drawn by the prolific “Kleine Meister” Jost Amman, whose Nuremberg workshop was one of the most celebrated of the 16th century. Amman’s Habitus, “considered to be one of the best works on costumes published at that time” (Borba), is unprecedented in the global scope of its presentation; it formed the model for such later works as Pietro Bertelli’s Diversarum nationum habitus (Padua, 1589) and Cesare Vecellio’s Habiti antichi e moderni (Venice, 1590)—which borrowed many of its plates (Taylor). Examples with contemporary color are of great rarity.

Amman’s parade of costumes commences with the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian II and his heir-apparent, “Römischer König” and Habsburg Archduke Rudolf II. Following a roughly geographical arrangement, the book presents the dress of Nuremberg, Augsburg, Meissen, Leipzig, Bohemia, Schlesien, etc., before proceeding to that of Iceland, Sweden, England, Holland and the Italian, Spanish and French duchies, etc. Considering its unusually large format and vivid, generously applied color, the work is literally an “atlas” of costumes, analogous in scope and ambition to Schedel’s Chronicle (also published in Nuremberg) or Ortelius’ Theatrum; like the Chronicle, whose audience included affluent armchair-travelers, it “collapsed physically experienced distance at the same time that it advertised the geographical variety of modes of dress it put into circulation” (Burland).

Nowhere is this purpose more evident than with the costumes of non-Europeans—from Ethiopian and Mauritanian plebeians to Persian satraps, Muscovite soldiers and a smattering of Turkish royalty—whose presence arguably marks the Habitus as the beginning of an “ethno-iconographic genre” designed to inform educated readers about the actual habiti, the cultural characteristics, of a rapidly diversifying human race. This intent is most striking in three color-portraits of Brazil’s Tupinamba Indians, the first depicting a man with a crown and belt of feathers, a knife, and a bow and arrow, beside a long-haired woman carrying a baby in a knotted sling. The woodcut is an adaptation of two from the Recueil de la diversité des habits (Paris, 1562; Antwerp, 1572) by Francois Descerpz, “one of the first likenesses of the Brazilian Indian” (Borba). A third drawing shows a Tupi woman in a robe of feathers holding the tammaraca, a hollow gourd shaken to invoke the gods.

German interest in Asia and the Americas as living, breathing Wunderkammern had increased dramatically during the first half of the 16th century, largely owing to Dürer’s drawings of exotic creatures (including parrots, the vogue pet of Nuremberg merchants) produced in Antwerp in 1520. In 1529, moreover, after extensive travels throughout Spain and Portugal with the court of Charles V, the Augsburg medal-maker Christoph Weiditz had created a manuscript Trachtenbuch—“one of the earliest attempts to compile a costume book” (Levenson)—that included 11 drawings of Aztecs brought to Spain by Cortes in 1528. Recent scholarship suggests that, given his connections with the publisher Feyerabend and Nuremberg painter Sigmund Heldt, Amman would have been privy to these unpublished drawings—though why he expressly chose the Tupinamba to represent the multi-ethnic New World remains an intriguing mystery.

The reputation and output of Swiss engraver Jost Amman (1539–1591) arguably established him as the heir to Dürer. Born in Zurich, Amman relocated to Nuremberg in 1560, where he soon began undertaking commissions from Feyerabend and Nuremberg’s Pfinzing family. His work includes hundreds of engravings, etchings and woodcuts for Bibles, histories, genealogies, and books on trade and construction, as well as dozens of painted portraits. Rubens, Rembrandt and Joshua Reynolds, among others, acknowledged his prodigious skill and lasting influence.

OCLC: 1) NYPL, Brown, Buffalo/Erie, Huntington (3 of them complete but none in color), Brown/Hay Military owns only 19 selected plates. 2): Trinity.

These figures are Engraved wood by Hans Wiegel after drawings by Jost Amman. Some examples had contemporary hand-coloring. (Colas).

Sir (Charles) Robert Bignold (1892-1970) was Lord Mayor of Norwich 1926-1927. His famous library of colour-plate books was sold at Sotheby's London, November 15th and 16th, 1971. His Great-Great Grandfather, Sir Thomas Bignold (1761-1835) was the founder of the Norwich Union Insurance Company.

Colas, 113; Brunet, III, 7; Graesse I, 104; Lipperheide 7 & 8; Rahir, 290; Hiler, p. 895.

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