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Monday 10 August 2020

Meister des Trostspiegels’ woodcut, “Conquest of a Castle,” c1532

Meister des Trostspiegels (aka Petrarch Master) (fl.c1520–1540)

Note: although the printmaker’s title, “Meister des Trostspiegels,” stems from the artist’s many (258) woodcut illustrations to Franceso Petrarca’s (1304–1374) “Trostspiegel” (1519/20), the true identity of the artist is possibly Hans Weiditz (c1500–1536). From a personal standpoint, however, earlier this evening I was convinced that the artist was Hans Burgkmair the Elder (1473–1531) and spent a great deal of time looking through the massive catalogue raisonné on Burgkmair (TIB vol. 11) to check. Sadly, I failed to find this print. Nevertheless, there are many woodcuts executed in a similar style by Burgkmair (see for instance,, moreover, I understand that Burgkmair was a contributing illustrator working with the Meister des Trostspiegels in the early German editions.

“Conquest of a Castle,” c1532, from Franceso Petrarca’s “Vpn Hülff vnd Rath in Allem anligen,“ 1532.

Regarding the edition from which this impression was taken, I understand that a later edition was published in Frankfurt am Main by the heirs of the famous publisher, Christian Egenolff's (aka Egenolph) (1502–1555), in 1559 (see Willard Fiske’s 1882, “A Catalogue of Petrarch Books,” p. 23), titled: “Hülff, Trost vnd Rath in allem anligen der Menschen. Francisci Petrarche, des hochwei- sen, fürtreflichen Poeten vnd Oratorn, zwei Trost- biücher, Von Artznei vnd Rath beyde im guten vnd widerwertigen Glück” ([Google transl.] “Hülff, Trost vnd ​​Rath in all things human.  Francisci Petrarche, the wise, noble poet and orator, two consolation books, Von Artznei vnd Rath both in good and disgusting happiness”). Arguably, the quality of the impression, showing little or no sign of wear to the printing plate, and the form of the German letterpress text (verso) suggests the early/lifetime edition.

Woodcut on laid paper with letterpress German text verso, trimmed with a narrow margin around the image borderline and backed with a support sheet.

Size: (sheet) 14.5 x 16.1 cm; (image borderline) 14.4 x 15.6 cm.

Condition: a good but slightly grey impression. The sheet is in excellent condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, significant stains or foxing) and is laid onto a support of archival (millennium quality) washi paper.

I am selling this remarkable woodcut of a sixteenth century assault upon a citadel for the total cost of AU$197 (currently US$140.89/EUR119.81/GBP107.93 at the time of this listing) including Express Mail (EMS) postage and handling to anywhere in the world (but not, of course, any import duties/taxes imposed by some countries).

If you are interested in purchasing this highly detailed old master woodcut, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

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