Old prints and manuscripts

The collection of old prints and manuscripts, established in 2002, is not extensive. It originally consisted of a section of precious historical books in the Moravian Gallery library, the beginnings of which are associated with the building of the library and collections in the new Moravian Museum of Applied Arts in the 1870's. Books were acquired for the museum as examples of the book-binding craft. The first planned purchases of rare book bindings took place under Director August Prokop and continued under his successor, Julius Leisching. The museum library housed old specialist literature and journals, particularly from the sphere of architecture and art history. Further acquisitions were occasional, involving purchases made in antique shops and from private owners, while some books were donated.

The collection currently features a wide sample of book culture, appearing as manuscripts, incunabula, old prints, 19th-century prints, maps and plans, graphic art and facsimiles.

Apart from specialist literature on art history, the historical section of the Moravian Gallery library contains books with religious, historical and philological subjects and belles lettres. Incunabula are among the most valuable items. Czech typography is represented by the illustrated Bible of Martin of Tišnov and by "Bohemicalia" prints dating to the 16th century, especially bibles printed in 1506-1715. The specialist art history literature comprises a series of books on architecture: theoretical writings on perspective, lexicons, building manuals and graphics. The collection of manuscripts features an illuminated watchface of French provenance from the late 15th century that has been digitalised, a transcription of confiscation minutes from 1624, and a series of manuscripts from the collection of František Antonín Grimm.


Judita Matějová