Blockbooks and single-leaf woodcut and metalcut prints from the Bodleian Library

This digital resource displays blockbooks and relief-printed images made in Europe during the earliest period of printing, in the mid-15th century to the 16th century

All but one of the items in this collection are from the Bodleian Library. Full descriptions of the Bodleian blockbooks and single-sheet metalcut and woodcut prints, including information on their origins and earlier provenance, are available from the Browse collection, which also links to digital images of the items.

This resources provides Transcriptions of the Latin texts of 4 blockbooks.

The illustrated blockbooks are highly visual materials and the images they contain, with the single-leaf prints also shown here, are a vivid remnant of 15th-century culture. Because it is built upon the collections of the Bodleian Library, this digital resource emphasises items that survived as books or through their association with books, for instance because they were preserved by book collectors as evidence of early printing, or kept inside books by early users, as aids to devotion, or because they were used as bookcovers. Larger collections of 15th-century prints will be found in museums such as the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, from which one item, a blockbook fragment, is represented here.

Visit the Themes pages for a quick tour introducing different parts of the collection.