Books On Books Collection – Paulus Franck

Schatzkammer Allerhand Versalien (1601/1995)

Schatzkammer Allerhand Versalien (1601/1995)
Paulus Franck
Facsimile edition created by Joseph Kiermeier-Debre and Fritz Franz Vogel as part of the boxed set Alphabets Buchstaben Calligraphy, published by Ravensburger Buchverlag (1998). Hardback. H275 x W255 mm, 80 pages. Acquired from Antiquariat Terrahe & Oswald, 14 March 2021. Photos: Books On Books Collection.

Little is known of Paulus Franck himself (although the editors reveal a Caravaggesque manslaughter charge in his home town of Memmingen), so the focus rests mainly on Schatzkammer, Allerhand Versalien Lateinisch vnnd Teutsch: allen Cantzleyen Schreibstuben Notaren Schreibern vnd denen so sich des zierlichen schreibens befleissigen zudienst vnd wolgefallen von neüen in Druckh also verferttiget (as the full title goes). The editors position Franck’s Treasury in the context of the phenomena of the writing master, penmanship and calligraphy from 1500 to 1800, even regaling the reader with tales of poor Franck’s castigation by Nuremberg’s calligraphic dynasty the Neudörffers. The editors neatly use the margins of their book to add to the historical context. Below, on the verso pages, they have the geometrically controlled design of Albrecht Durer (1525), and on the recto, the exuberance of John Seddon (1695).

One element not extolled by the editors is the printing from woodcuts. The quality of the woodcuts can be better appreciated by looking at the scanned original available from the Bayerische Staats Bibliothek (BSB). Conveniently, the site BibliOdyssey has downloaded the letters and provided additional links. At his Type Design Information Page, Luc Devroye also reproduces Franck’s ornate letters from the 1601 manual as well as from a later volume produced by Paul Fürst (better known for his print “Der Doctor Schnabel von Rom“) and printed by Christoph Gerhard in 1655.

This facsimile of Franck’s Treasury makes up one of four volumes in a box set, edited by Joseph Kiermeier-Debre and Fritz Franz Vogel. The other three present works by Antonio Basoli, Johann Theodor de Bry and Johann David Steingruber. To see Franck’s continuing influence, visit the collection entry on Tauba Auerbach.

Further Reading

Tauba Auerbach“, Books On Books Collection, 23 March 2021.

Johann Theodor de Bry“, Books On Books Collection, 2021.

Jeffrey Morin“, Books On Books Collection, 23 April 2021.

Richard Niessen“, Books On Books Collection, 23 April 2021.

Paul Noble“, Books On Books Collection, 23 April 2021.

Devroye, Luc. n.d. “Paulus Franck“. Type Design Information Page. Accessed 20 March 2022.

Peacay. 17 December 2013. “Uppercase Treasure“, BibliOdyssey. Accessed 19 March 2022.