Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

The Imprint
Jackson, F. Ernest Mason, J. H. Johnston, Edward
Persistente ID:
The father of this distinguished family of printers was CHRESTIEN 
WECHEL; who, according to Maittaire, began to print in I 520, and 
carried on a successful business for upwards of thirty years. He published 
a prodigious number of books, and was remarkable for bringing them out 
in parts, for the convenience (I suppose) of a ready sale and quick return 
of profit. He was one of those printers, who, after the example of Gilles 
Gourmont (in the language of Chevillier) ' excitez par les gens de Lettres 
de l'Université, se piquerent d'honneur, et enricherent leurs Imprimeries 
de Caracteres Grecs, pour ne ceder en rien aux Imprimeurs Etrangers.' 
His first Greek book was the ' Alphabetum Grmcumf of I 530. Conrad 
Gesner, in his valuable Pandects, fills nearly 4. pages with a list of Wechel's 
books, and with the prices for Which they were sold, up to the year I 548. 
This list is preceded by a short epistle to the printer, in which Wechel is 
thus addressed .   ' Tu certe jam olim propter optimos in utraque Lingua 
apud te natos Libros, quos miro nitore, 8: incredibili diligentia publicos 
fecisti, vel praestantissimus vel inter praestantissimos non postremus haberi 
et nunquam non celebrari mereris.' Read Bayle's long note about the 
poverty and persecution of our printer in consequence of selling an impious 
Wechel was a great lover of Hebrew and Greek literature ; and printed 
various elementary treatises, as well as the entire Books of Genesis and 
Exodus in the former language. 'If (observes Maittaire) he had executed the 
remainder of the Bible in the same splendid fount of letter, and form of 
volume-how would the student of sacred writ have been eternally indebted 
to him for so grateful and acceptable a gift! ' Maittaire subjoins two 
pleasing excerpts from these first two books of the Pentateuch, published 
separately in the years I536 and I 537, 4to. and now of excessive rarity. 
Wechel is supposed to have died in 1554., leaving a son of the name of 
ANDREW (or Andreas) to continue his business and perpetuate his name. 
Simon Du Bois sometimes printed for him. Indeed his device of the two 
Robins (see p. 43) is supposed by Maittaire to have been exclusively that 
of Du Bois ; and the same authority seems to infer that it was not used 
after the year I 533, when the Flying Pegasus (the usual Wechelian device) 
was substituted in its place. Andrew Wechel was a Protestant, and is thought 
by La Caille to have quitted Paris for Frankfort in consequence of having 
narrowly escaped the massacre on the eve of St. Bartholomew, owing to 
the friendly interposition of Hubert Languet, the Saxon minister then 
resident at Paris. Bayle thinks that his departure took place before that 
memorable and ever execrable event-yet it should seem, on the authority 
of A. Wechel himself (in the dedicatory epistle to the Vandalia Alberti 


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