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Ina Kok wins Breslauer Prize for Bibliography with woodcuts masterpiece

Ina Kok’s award-winning book (left) and the two honorable mentions

Dutch scholar Ina Kok has won the 17th ILAB Breslauer Prize for Bibliography, sponsored by the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers with the support of the B.H. Breslauer Foundation.

Kok is the author of Woodcuts in Incunabula Printed in the Low Countries.

ILAB’s Fabrizio Govi said: “The author has spent decades working on this book compiling an incredible census of illustrations used in editions printed in 15th century Netherlands. We cannot compare Ina’s book to any other publication submitted for the 2018 prize. Woodcut illustrations were often reused during the first period of printing, they were fragile and were easily worn down after a few impressions. As a result, they were sometimes repaired with a few minor changes or completely recut, trying to recreate the original block as closely as possible. This work, published in four volumes and based on the study of almost 4,000 illustrations, is remarkable.”

More than 50 publications from publishers and academic institutions across the globe were submitted. Honorable mentions were given to Dirk Imhof for Jan Moretus and the Continuation of the Plantin Press, and Staffan Fogelmark for The Kallierges Pindar. A Study in Renaissance Greek Scholarship and Printing.

The Breslauer Prize will be awarded during the ABA Rare Book Fair in Battersea, London, on 25 May.

This prize is worth $10,000 (USD) and awarded every fourth year to the most significant reference work within a selection of scholarly books on bibliography, published in the previous years.

Ina Kok’s book offers a complete census of woodcuts in Dutch and Flemish incunabula, and a record of all places in which they appear. Both the book in which the woodcut (or series of woodcuts) appears for the first time and all repetitions of that woodcut before 1501 have been registered. It also offers a survey and analysis of the woodcuts used by each printer. With this, Ina has developed an accurate dating system for incunabula. Two examples are posted below.

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