The “Stuttgart volume of the Augsburg Book of Nobles” of 1545/1547 consists of 43 drawings and 53 etchings for a planned almanac by the artists Hans Burgkmair the Younger and Heinrich Vogtherr the Younger. The pen and ink drawings were corrected in red chalk and the outlines pricked for transfer onto iron printing plates. It was first published in Augsburg in 1618 under the title Erneuertes Geschlechter Buch (Revised Book of Nobles) with additional plates. So-called books of nobles contained splendid pictorial representations of the rank and status of the patrician families eligible for membership in the town council.
The exhibition will show the Augsburg Book of Nobles in the context of the heraldic imagery of Martin Schongauer and Albrecht Dürer as well as the models used for the shield-bearing figures, especially works by Hans Burgkmair the Elder, and other comparable contemporary images. The works on view will include a number of prominent loans form the Württembergische Landesbibliothek Stuttgart and the Staats- und Stadtbibliothek Augsburg.
During World War II the Stuttgart volume was stolen from its place of safekeeping at Waldburg/Hohenlohe. Long believed to have been destroyed by fire, it unexpectedly turned up at Sotheby’s New York in 2004. A New York court found in favour of the State of Baden-Württemberg, and in 2010 the book was returned to the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart’s Department of Prints and Drawings.