Reading the Nuremberg Chronicle
in Reformation Europe

This exhibition shows some of the ways people read one of the earliest printed histories, the Nuremberg Chronicle, in early modern Europe.    We have compared annotated copies of the Chronicle from across Europe to illustrate different responses to the Reformation, as well as demonstrating the importance of sacred history for a diverse group of readers.

The first ‘coffee-table book’, the Nuremberg Chronicle is a richly illustrated history of the world produced in Nuremberg by Anton Koberger, Hartmann Schedel, and local artists in 1493.  Properly known as the Liber Chronicarum, the Chronicle mixed biblical history with accounts of kings, queens and popes as it traced human history from Adam to the imminent apocalypse.  Later readers – Catholic and Protestant – added their own comments:  some were critical and some were personal, all show how this global history resonated with individual readers.

The copies of the Nuremberg Chronicle that we have chosen to feature were owned by a wide range of early modern readers from England, Germany, Lithuania and Poland, and are now held in libraries in Russia, the U.K, and New Zealand. As well as comparing different readings of this important book across Europe, this exhibition aims to showcase little-known copies of the Liber Chronicarum in libraries outside the U.K.

This exhibition, funded by the British Academy, comes out of an International Fellowship held by Dr Nina Adamova of St Petersburg State University (Russia) working with Dr Rosamund Oates (Manchester Met University, U.K) on annotated copies of the Nuremberg Chronicle.

The Nuremberg Chronicles Personalising the book


This project uses annotations in one of the earliest printed books to show how much sacred history mattered to readers – all of whom came from very different backgrounds and places in Early Modern Europe.