A poor example from Cologne

A leaf from Opera (Works) by Jean Gerson, printed by Johannes Koelhoff the elder in Cologne in 1483 (283 x 213 mm)

Not all would-be printers journeyed upstream from Mainz. One who went downstream, to Cologne, was Ulrich Zell, who set up the first press in that city in about 1465. He had learned to print with Fust and Schoeffer in Mainz. Cologne went on to become the most important German printing centre of the 15th century, but is poorly represented in my leaf collection – just the very plain example shown here. It was printed by Johannes Koelhoff the elder in 1483 and comes from the collected works of a French theologian, Jean Gerson.

Koelhoff had started printing in Cologne in about 1471-2, which means he may have been one of the printers active there when William Caxton was in the city to learn about the new art of printing.

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