Jost de Negker’s Woodcut Charles V (1519): An Undescribed Example of Gold Printing

Fig. 1. Attr. Hans Weiditz the Younger, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (1519), woodcut on vellum from two blocks (gold, black) with hand-coloring, 35.6 × 20.3 cm. Printed by Jost de Negker, Augsburg. The British Museum, London, 1862,0208.55. Image courtesy of the Centre for Heritage Imaging and Collection Care, University of Manchester and © The Trustees of the British Museum.

Fig. 1. Attr. Hans Weiditz the Younger, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (1519), woodcut on vellum from two blocks (gold, black) with hand-coloring, 35.6 × 20.3 cm. Printed by Jost de Negker, Augsburg. The British Museum, London, 1862,0208.55. Image courtesy of the Centre for Heritage Imaging and Collection Care, University of Manchester and © The Trustees of the British Museum.

The British Museum holds an anonymous woodcut portrait of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (1500–1556; reigned 1519–1556) printed on parchment, inscribed “1519” in pen and ink and decorated with water-based paints and gold (Fig. 1). Gold was usually applied to prints as paint or gold leaf, and only once since the woodcut’s first description in 1862 has anyone suggested its gold was something out of the ordinary: in 1921 Campbell Dodgson wondered if it were printed.1

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  1. Mark McDonald, Ferdinand Columbus: Renaissance Collector (1488–1539) (London: British Museum, 2005): 174, no. 60; Campbell Dodgson, Catalogue of Early German and Flemish Woodcuts Preserved in the Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum, 2 vols.(London: The Trustees, British Museum, 1911), 2:170, no. 54 (“richly coloured and gilt”). Ibid., “Rare Woodcuts in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford–II: Other Woodcuts By Burgkmair,” Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs 39, no. 221 (1921): 70; Johann David Passavant, Le Peintre-graveur, 6 vols. (Leipzig: Rudolph Weigel, 1862), III:223–4, no. 334a. []