Prelo

AESOP FABLES

Reproducing a 15th century incunable

Woodcut
Woodcut
¶ The fyrst fable is of the cok and of the precious stone

Woodcut and proof print for Aesop's "The fable of the cock and the jewel".
Woodcut
Woodcut
¶ Fable of the Wolf and the Statue
Woodcut
Woodcut
¶ The iij fable is of the rat and of the frogge

Woodcut and proof print for Aesop’s fable of the frog and the mouse.
Woodcut
Woodcut
¶ The xiij fable is of the foxe and of the storke

Woodcut and proof print for Aesop's "The fable of the fox and the stork".
Vita et fabulae, 1479
Vita et fabulae, 1479
Original page from the edition on the Library of Congress, USA
Woodcut initials
Woodcut initials
Capital letters hand-cut in cherrywood
Fables
Fables
Detail of lead type and woodcut initial "W" resting on a galley before printing.
Test print
Test print
Test print of the title page woodblock "Fabulae Aesopiae".
Woodcut illustration
Woodcut illustration
Making a woodcut for the Fables
Composing text
Composing text
“Das leben des hochberuemté fabeltichters Esopi...” Capital D for the introduction text of the Aesop Fables. Woodcut on linden wood 5x5cm
Capital D
Capital D
Capital D for the introduction text of the Aesop Fables. Woodcut on linden wood 5x5cm
Introduction to the Fables
Introduction to the Fables
Detail of lead type and woodcut initial "D" resting on a galley before printing.
Fable page
Fable page
Page for the fable "the rat and the frog" set up and ready for print. Moveable lead type, woodcuts for the illustration, and capital letter.
Fable page
Fable page
Printed pages of the fable "the rat and the frog", printed on linen laid paper.

What better thing to use a printing press for, then to print an actual book? That was the Graal for the first printers, the Gutenberg Bible being the most famous and well-known incunable, and definitely one of the most beautiful printed books in the 15th century, from a technical point of view.  

We are not as ambitious, or magnanimous, and the first book (or booklet) we intend to print on the press is an edition of the popular Aesop Fables, with a selection of the fables composed with moveable type and illustrations in woodcut.


A note on nomenclature: an incunable (English), from the Latin incunabula, is the name for books, broadsides, and other materials printed before the year 1501. The Latin term means ‘swaddling clothes, cradle’, so referring to the birth of printing in Europe. 


A late medieval best seller

The Aesop Fables had more than 150 separate editions in the second half of the 15th century, in different European languages. Our first edition is based on the Vita et Fabulae from 1479, translated from Latin into German by Heinrich Steinhöwel.


The text is set in Nürnberger Schwabacher with woodcut initials and illustrations, printed on archival paper. This limited edition book has 48 pages, bound by Chris Wenzel (kopert.de).

Prelo Prints is a project born from the love for letterpress and all forms of early print, its techniques and history.

© Prelo Prints 2020 

FOLLOW US

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.

Accept