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Jan van Doesborch's departure from Antwerp and his influence on the Utrecht printer Jan Berntsz

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This article examines the reasons that the printer Jan van Doesborch may have had for moving to Utrecht after working almost 30 years in Antwerp. In Utrecht van Doesborch settled at the address of another printer, Jan Berntsz, and, as is demonstrated here, went on to have a considerable influence on his work. It seems probable that van Doesborch's move was occasioned largely by the reduced accessibility of the English market after 1526, as a result of which his competitive position suffered compared with that of other Antwerp printers. His joint venture with Michiel Hillen van Hoochstraten and Henrijck Petersz in respect of the Cronijcke van Brabant (NK 654-6), whether or not it was entered into voluntarily, points to financial difficulties, while his edition of Dat bedroch der vrouwen (NK 4422) may have had an effect on his social position. The choice of Utrecht as van Doesborch's new home is explained by the fact that he already knew Berntsz, the only printer in Utrecht at the time, and was also aware that Berntsz's output was low. A very considerable part of Berntsz's list over the period 1530-42 turns out to consist of reprints of texts originally printed by van Doesborch. In particular, Berntsz reprinted texts containing knowledge that could be turned to practical use, for which there seems to have been a ready market in Utrecht and environs. At the same time he continued to print other works, mainly for the secular and ecclesiastical authorities of Utrecht. From the difference between Berntsz's list of 1530-42 and his output between 1514 and 1526 it is clear that the arrival of van Doesborch had a major yet superficial impact on him. He faithfully reprinted the texts that became available through van Doesborch, but made little effort to publish anything really new.


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