The beautiful hand-coloured woodcuts shown here are taken from the Cologne Chronicle of 1499. The religious, social and mercantile significance of the city of Cologne at the time of its production gives it a wide scope and makes it one of the more interesting of the German chronicles.
The Cologne Chronicle is famous for containing a somewhat contentious passage about the invention of printing, which includes information supplied by Ulrich Zell, first printer of Cologne. In it he appears to suggest that Gutenberg’s discovery of movable type may have been preceded by some years by the work of Laurens J. Coster in the Netherlands.
The Library holds two copies of the Cologne Chronicle, one of which belonged to John Radcliffe (1845-1911), a retired businessman of Saddleworth who amassed a large library which was donated to Chetham’s in 1918 by his son James.