Early Cartooning: Hans Holbein’s Dance of Death


Animation Resources has digitized these images from an extremely rare first edition of Bohn’s 1858 edition, and we are proud to bring them to you as a downloadable high resolution e-book. This PDF e-book is optimized for display on the iPad or printing two up with a cover on 8 1/2 by 11 inch paper.

Adobe PDF / 161 Pages / 249 MB Download

Category: Tag:


You may wonder what 16th century woodcuts have to do with animation,… well, this e-book will reveal to you the secret origins of cartoons! When the history of animation is taught in schools, the course generally starts with Emile Cohl and Winsor McCay and moves on from there. But animation is just a subset of a larger subject- cartooning, and the history of cartooning goes back hundreds of years. Prepare for your mind to be blown at what you are about to learn!


In 1833, a scholar named Frances Douce partnered with the greatest engravers of the day, John and Mary Byfield and George Bonner to produce a definitive facsimile edition of Holbein’s “Dance of Death”. By this point, the original woodblocks had been long since lost to time, and the myriad of later recuts and imitations made it difficult to know which cuts were by Holbein and which were later copies. Douce spent many years examining surviving prints and fragments of woodblock books to compile a complete set, then Byfield and Bonner undertook making precise duplicates of the original wood blocks without the inevitable damage the original prints had suffered.

In 1858, Henry J. Bohn combined into a single volume Douce’s book and a reprint of Holbein’s Bible cuts, recreated by Byfield and Bonner in 1830. These careful copies after Holbein have pretty much replaced the surviving original woodcuts because of the poor condition of the nearly five hundred year old original prints. Also included are Holbein’s complete Bible cuts, first published in the 1520s, and recut by Bohn in 1858.

For more information about how this great book relates to the art of cartooning, see… http://animationresources.org/taking-a-broader-view-of-the-history-of-cartooning/


There are no reviews yet.

Only logged in customers who have purchased this product may leave a review.