Scanderbegus Epiri Princeps Athleta Christi Obiit Anno 1466

Method Copper engraving
Artist Lawrence Johnson after Theodor de Bry
Published L.J. 1603. [London: Printed by Adam Islip]
Dimensions Image 150 x 120 mm, Plate 155 x 125 mm, Sheet 240 x 150 mm
Notes An early seventeenth century portrait of Scanderbeg, the Ottoman rebel and father of feudal lord of Albania, engraved by Lawrence Johnson for Richard Knolles' The Generall Historie of the Turkes. Like most of the portraits in the series, this plate is a close copy of an earlier portrait engraved by De Bry for Boissard's Vitæ et icones sultanorum turcicorum. Scanderbeg is shown half-length, moustachioed, wearing a feathered and jewelled cap and embroidered surcoat, and carrying a sceptre in his left hand. The Latin inscription in the oval frame of the portrait describes him as the 'Prince of Albania' and a 'Champion of Christ.'

Scanderbeg (1405-1468) was an Albanian rebel leader. Born Gjergj Kastrioti, he was sent to the Ottoman court as a hostage. His epithet was a corruption of his Ottoman name Iskender and his title, Bey, (Governor) of the Sanjak of Dibra in Macedonia. In 1443 he deserted from the Ottomans and became Captain General of Northern Albania under the patronage of Alfonzo V of Naples, eventually becoming chief commander of the crusading armies of Pope Pius II in the Ottoman-Venetian War. His continual successes against the Ottomans made him a symbol of Christian defence in his own lifetime, and created a legacy of Albanian nationalism that lasts to the present day.

Lawrence Johnson (fl.1603) was a British engraver, and one of the earliest native printmakers active in England. He is known principally for engraving the plates for Knolles' Generall Historie of the Turkes, though he also published a very rare portrait of James I.

Theodor de Bry (1528-1598) was a Flemish-born engraver and editor, who travelled Europe. De Bry fled from Liège in fear of the Spanish persecution of Protestants, lived in Strasbourg, travelled to Antwerp, then London, and finally settled in Frankfurt-am-Main, where he started a publishing business and printing workshop.

Condition: Time toning and foxing to sheet. Waterstains to right side of plate. Latin text above and below plate, and on verso. Sheet trimmed, torn, and chipped at edges, not affecting plate.
Framing unmounted
Price £150.00
Stock ID 50866