... from the collection of S. Kazay, a pharmacist of the town. ...
Illuminated Codices in the Library of the Protestant College of Debrecen
In 1796, the Protestant College of Debrecen came into the possession of twenty-seven codices from the collection of S. Kazay, a pharmacist of the town. Seventeen of them had belonged to the Dominican monastery „St. Catherine" of Nuremberg. The existence of these codices was unknown outside Hungary for a long time. They were first described by A. Gábriel in his paper „A debreceni könyvtár középkori kéziratai" (Medieval MSS of the Library of Debrecen. — 1942). The aim of the present paper is to evaluate them from the point of view of art history, an attempt never made before. Only the illuminated codices are being examined here.
On the basis of a close collation of relevant material the author found that breviary R 451(see the plates) had been written by Kungund Niklasin and illuminated by Barbara Gewichtmacherin; breviary R 602 had been written by Ursula Geisel-herin and illuminated by Margret Kartheuserin; breviary R 456 had written by Barbara Ruczin; R 515 again by Ursula Geiselherin and had been decorated with Margret Kartheuserin's miniatures. Diurnale R 601 is also in Barbara Ruczin's handwriting.
Artistically these codices show an influence of French taste. It is mainly the influence of the Alsatian school that is recognizable on the maniatures, which seems quite natural, considering that Barbara Gewichtmacherin and Margret Kartheuserin had come to Nuremberg from the Alsatian monastery of Schönensteinbach. Alsatian influence is combined with that of the illuminating school of Prague (cf. our codices press-marked R 601 and R 602). On the inner parchment cover of one of our codices originating from Basel, a tint-drawing is to be seen which, in its style, shows an influence of the Nuremberg school of xylography.
The propitious amalgamation of these diverse influences gave rise to the independent illuminating school of Nuremberg.
As Karl Fischer, Wilhelm Fries and Theodor Raspe had been unaware of these codices in Debrecen, they could not establish a full conception of the illuminating art of the Nuremberg Dominicans. They are, of course, not to be blamed for not having any knowledge of the finest Dominican codices of Nuremberg.