This article deals with printed graphic sheets, cycles and illustrations by Albrecht Dürer, which penetrated into book printing in the Czech language (Nuremberg) and in Bohemia (Prague, Litomyšl) through original printing blocks as well as copies in the first half of the 16th century. Dürer’s graphic sheets were distributed by the Nuremberg printers Hieronymus Höltzel (1509, 1511) and Friedrich Peypus (1534), the Litomyšl printing workshop working for the Unity of the Brethren (Unitas fratrum) in Litomyšl (1520), and the so-called Severin Workshop, connected to the Prague printing workshop of Pavel Severin of Kapí Hora (1529, 1539). Eleven works of religious character associated with Dürer have been discovered among Czech illustrations so far – they were made by means of seven original printing blocks and four copies, which is not so much. In this respect, Dürer was greatly surpassed by his Nuremberg successor, Erhard Schön. After Schön died in 1542, the printer Jan Günther received roughly one quarter of workshop printing blocks (approximately 340 pieces). Two years later, he moved them to Moravia, where they were coming to life in Prostějov, then in Olomouc and eventually in popular books, brochures and broadsides from Skalice until the end of the 19th century.
Dürer’s printing blocks that functioned in the context of Czech book printing depict: [1a] the Nativity, [2c] the apocalyptic Woman Clothed with the Sun, and [5a–e] the Saints (James the Greater, Peter, John the Evangelist, John the Baptist and Judas Thaddaeus). The following subjects were copied: [2b] the apocalyptic Woman Clothed with the Sun, [3b] Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, [4c] Two Angels (Geniuses), and [6b] the Holy Trinity. The woodcut copies are not exact replicas. The poor artistry and craftsmanship of the copyists, whose names are not known, led to the omission of details. The problem is that the copyists were not trying to present Dürer’s graphic art but needed a cheap and simple acquisition of the biblical scene required. More detailed information on the printing blocks and copies is available in the catalogue attached.
The article deals with the Defurovy Lažany manor library, which used to comprise the collection of the prominent Czech industrialist Otokar Kruliš-Randa. The private collection of this bibliophile began to be formed during his studies and reached its zenith in the 1930s. This period is documented by a number of archival sources described in this article. In the 1940s, Kruliš-Randa moved his collection to the newly purchased manor, Defurovy Lažany. After the Second World War, the property of Otokar Kruliš-Randa, including his library, was confiscated. First, a part of it was placed in the State Agriculture and Forestry Archives in Horšovský Týn. Subsequently, according to a decision of the National Cultural Commission, it was moved to the Study and Research Library of the Pilsen Region, with the exception of the volumes of reference works, which remained in the archives. A part of the manuscript collection is deposited in the National Museum Library, where most of the manuscripts had been donated by Otokar Kruliš--Randa before the confiscation. Kruliš-Randa’s original collection has been kept in these institutions to this day. Despite its confiscation, the Defurovy Lažany manor library has been preserved more or less as a whole without greater losses.
In 1623, the property of Ladislaus Seydlitz von Schönfeld was confiscated and immediately purchased by Polyxena of Lobkowicz. It also included the Encovany estate with Seydlitz’s library, the core of which was the book collection of the previous two lords at Encovany, the Vice--Chancellor of the Kingdom of Bohemia Oswald Schönfeld von Schönfeld (1524–1589) and his son Rudolf (1565–1602). Provenance research into the Library of the Monastery of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin in Roudnice nad Labem and the Roudnice Lobkowicz Library has identified fragments of the earliest Encovany library. The article provides the basic information not only on fragments of this Renaissance castle library but also on the fates of its first owners.
The Brisigells were one of the families that settled in Bohemia in connection with land acquisitions during the Thirty Years’ War. The family achieved its greatest wealth in the second generation at the turn of the 18th century. The third generation suffered a gradual decline, caused i.a. by financial difficulties and debt. After the middle of the 18th century, the family disappeared from Bohemia. The electronic cataloguing of early printed books with systematically recorded provenances has made it possible to identify in the collections of the Strahov Library and the National Library a small set of books previously owned by individual family members. Not only has the analysis enabled insight into the reading interests of the Brisigell family, but it has also provided information on the wandering of the books within the family as well as within friendly and business relations with other noblemen in the regions of West and Southwest Bohemia.
Changes in the social status of the elites have been relatively well-mapped in the case of the families of the higher nobility, more rarely also for some better-off knightly families. Nevertheless, research has ignored the fates of the noble families that did not settle in the country but were tied to (mainly royal) towns and that completely blended in the 18th and 19th centuries with the local dignitaries and ceased to use their aristocratic attributes, especially nobiliary particles.