The Lions International Convention this week reminded me that the huge medieval fairs - especially the great print and book fairs held once in Nuremberg, Mainz, Strasbourg and Basel - were greeted with the same excitement and expectation accorded tothe Lions.
By 1450, Guthenberg was printing in Mainz (called Goldene Mainz) because of its opulence and wealth.
And once the craft of taking printed paper pages from a clear letter press was established, prints were the obvious development and customers thronged to the fairs where many artists of note showed their wares.
One of the greatest artists of his time was Albrecht Durer, whose prints will be sold next week at Christie's in a fine collection originally formed by Count Antoine Seilern.
So why Durer? The answer is simple - apart from his genius as an artist, Durer, above all else was an eye witness to the beginnings of the European Reformation and counted many of its leading lights, including the philosopher and Humanist, Erasmus, along with Martin Luther, among his closest friends. …