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Jan Seversz prints a Chronicle

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The Cronycke van Hollandt Zeeland en Vrieslant, Leiden: Jan Seversz, 1517, usually referred to as the Divisiekroniek, is a welcome object for bibliographical analysis. Having been printed from two fairly small stocks of worn type, it allows of type analysis; and having headlines on most pages, it allows of headline analysis as well. The analyses show the printing to have proceeded from the outside of a quire to the inside, the principle being that two successive outer formes were printed first, and were then perfected in the same order before the process was repeated with the next two sheets. The book was cast off, and two compositors were at work, each with his own stock of type and two skeletons, and the type can be shown to have been set in the order in which it was machined. The book is illustrated with numerous woodblocks and, like the text, these betray a passion for armorials, thus suggesting that the author may have had a hand in their selection. About 1530 a supplement taken from Jan van Doesborch's Cronike van Brabant of that year was added and a few sheets were reset. The woodcuts employed in these suggest that Willem Vorsterman is a more likely candidate for their provision than Jan van Doesborch, though Seversz may have remained in control. This hypothesis also removes a supposed anomaly from the oeuvre of Lucas van Leyden. Finally a copy of another Seversz imprint, the Byenboeck of 1515, in Leiden University Library, shows a series of offsets confirming that this book was printed according to the same system as the Divisiekroniek.


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