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The Duke Eberhard im Barte (Eberhard the Bearded) paid Hans Talhoffer 10 Gulden as his Fencing Master and to create a book on his behalf in 1467. In his last will Duke Eberhard named this book as his parchment fencing book. Today the manuscript is registered as Cod.icon. 394a to be found at the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek Munich, Germany.

It was probably written in Baden-Württemberg in the town Urach, the major castle of the Duke of Württemberg-Urach. It contains beautiful drawings, some of them in an extraordinary good quality. The artist of this marvelous drawings was identified by Regina Cermann in 1991 as an unnamed one (anonymus). This unknown artist is connected to the book manufactury associated with a man named “Stefan Schriber” or in modern spelling “Stefan Schreiber” (1).

stefan schreiber hochzeitStefan Schreiber (Stefan Schriber) owned a house in Urach (today Bad Urach). We know that because he had to be the host to some noble guests from Baubeuren at the duke’s wedding July 1474 (2).

Item Plawbeuren in Steffann Schreibers
hauss mit vj pferdt.

Beside the Talhoffer Fechtbuch of 1467 we know of two other books of this book workshop:

One of Eberhart’s books is found today in Chantilly, Musée Condé, HS 680 made in 1480. You can find more pictures of the Ms 680/1389 fol.22 here at Bridgeman Art.

Stefan Schriber created 1494 a book of samples that is online at the BSB Munich and is called  Cod.icon. 420, Musterbuch von verzierten Buchstaben, Randflorierungen, Miniaturmalereien (another link). It contains 27 pages full of beautiful drawings probably made by the same artist as found in Hans Talhoffer’s Fechtbuch. The signatures on folio 1r “Dem Hochgeboren Herrn Herrn Eberharden Graven Zu wirtemberg vnd Mimpeliart” and on 4v “Vnnserem lieben getrwen Stefan Schriber In vnnsrer Stadt vrach” gives us the the information who manufactured the book.

From the hand of Stefan Schreiber is another book partly illustrated. It is a Missale from the Benediktinerkloster Zwiefalten now to find in thee Württembergische Landesbibliothek, Stuttgart, under the signature HB XVII 21 (images in the Bildarchiv Marburg). He added his name in an initial letter.

Missale HB VII 21

According to  Roland Deigendesch there had been a Stefan Schreiber the Elder and a Younger. The elder is reported as dead before 1500 in “O[bitum] Steffani schriptoris de vrach cum duabus vxoribus et liberis et antecessoribus et pro quibus desiderat,” (4)

There may be another work of Stefan Schreiber from Urach, but this is highly questionable. It is a winged altarpiece donated to the Kartause Güterstein near  Urach. The artist is unknown but not the donator. He is named Steffan Schreiber and his wife is named Adelheid Joner. The donation is date terminated to 1512. This Stefan Schreiber was a court official at Württemberg living in Kirchheim/Teck. It is entire possible that he is the artist’s son. But the name Stefan Schreiber is not really a singularity. Today the altarpiece is found in the Stiftskirche Oberstenfeld. (4)

Books used in this article:
(1) Der Bipai Ms. 680 in Chantilly, Magisterarbeit, Regina Cermann, 1991, Berlin
Schriften betr. die am 3. und 4. Juli 1474 zu Urach abgehaltene Hochzeitsfeier, 1474, Landesarchiv Stuttgart, A 602 Nr 373 d = WR 373d, fol. 79v-80r
(3) Bildarchiv Foto Marburg, Biegenstraße 11, D-35037 Marburg
Die Kartause Güterstein: Geschichte, geistiges Leben und personales Umfeld, Roland Deigendesch, DRW, 2001