Two large-format, illustrated broadsides about the Diet of Regensburg, only one held in German collections

Hübschmann, Donat. Warhafftige Contrafactur, der Legation oder gesandten, des Groß Fürsten auß Moscaw, an die Römische Kayserliche Mayestat: Auch inn was Kleydung und gestalt, ein jeder gen Hof gezogen, da sie der Römischen Kayerslichen Mayestat den Credentz Brieff und Geschenk uberantwortet haben.

Prague, Michael Petterle, [ca. 1576].

(And:) Contrafactur: Der Kirchen Ceremonien, so die Moscowitter bey irem Gottesdienst gebrauchen, wie auff dem jetzigen Reichstag zu Regenspurg ist gesehen worden. Ibid., [ca. 1576]. 2 broadsides, together 1485 x 398 mm. In original, contemporary colour.


Splendid group portrait in original contemporary colour, showing the Russian delegation of Tsar Ivan IV (the Terrible) at the Regensburg Diet of 1576. "The foreign, 'exotic' figures in their strange costumes were considered quite spectacular by the population as well as by the attendees of the Diet [...] As the broadsheet's title announces, the general readers' curiosity was satisfied by this illustration of all 28 delegates as well as by the brief account of their apparel. Further, the precious gifts (furs) were described" (cf. Völkl/Wessely, 21f.). The second broadsheet shows the Russian delegation at church service, before an altar decorated with icons. Again, word and image complement each other: the letterpress text below the impressive woodcut describes the illustration in verse.

Long attributed to Jost Ammann, the woodcuts have been more recently identified by Geisberg as works by Donat Hübschmann, painter to the Imperial court, who died in Vienna in 1583. He is known to have produced several illustrations of Herberstein's embassy to Russia, but also portraits of the sons of Emperor Maximillian II. It is likely that Hübschmann was present at the Regensburg Diet as part of the Imperial entourage and his woodcuts were based on his own observation.

The two broadsheets were published separately, each with its own colophon, and both are extremely rare even individually: the present specimens are the only ones ever to have appeared in the trade; auction and collection records show no other copies since 1950. OCLC lists only the prints in the Zurich Central Library, cut into sections and re-assembled on several cardboards (this is the source consulted by Völkl for his monograph study, cited below); another copy of only the first broadsheet is kept at the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg. KVK records not a single example in German libraries. One of the two original woodcuts at hand was reproduced by chromolithography in V. A. Prokhorov's "Russian Antiquities" (1872); copies of another reproduction, produced around 1880, are preserved at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and the Bibliotheque des Arts Decoratifs, Paris.


From the collection of the Finnish printer Karl Gustav Kosk (1881-1957): the owner of the Helsinki publishing house "Yhteiskirjapaino oy" had received the prints as a gift on 5 June 1931, as noted in a dedicatory plaque on the reverse of the frame. Acquired from his descendants.


Two letterpress broadsheets with title and text printed in 9 and 3 columns (1115 x 398 mm and 368 x 398 mm, respectively). Woodcuts reach across the entire length of the upper third of the broadsheets (1107 x 260 mm and 365 x 256 mm) and are here mounted together to span a total length of ca. 1.5 metres. In contemporary original hand colour, letterpress titles washed in yellow. Mounted on cloth at an early date and enclosed by a wide, black border. Framed and glazed (1533 x 448 mm).


Several closed tears; lower edge shows insignificant waterstaining and fingerstaining. Conjoined as early in as the 16th century, as is evident from the black border surrounding both prints. Colours preserved with uncommon vividness; a very impressive ensemble.


Geisberg, The German Single-Leaf Woodcut 1500-50, II, 833, 5 & 834, 6. Harms/Schilling, Deutsche illustrierte Flugblätter, Tübingen 1997, VII, 80 & 81. Wünsch, Der Wiener Maler und Formschneider Donat Hübschmann und sein Holzschnittwerk, in: Mitteilungen der Gesellschaft für vervielfältigende Kunst, 1913, no. 1, 1-13. Ekkehard Völkl, Kurt Wessely, Die russische Gesandtschaft am Regensburger Reichstag 1576, Regensburg 1976.