MASTER of the Housebook
(active 1475-90 in Mainz)
Master of the Housebook (or Meister des Hausbuchs) was a Rhenish or Dutch painter, draughtsman, and engraver active in the last quarter of the 15th century. He is named from a series of drawings in the so-called Hausbuch in Schloss Wolfegg in south-west Germany; many of the drawings show scenes of everyday life and so do the engravings (about ninety are known) attributed to him. By far the best collection of the engravings is in Amsterdam Print Room, and he was therefore once known as the Master of the Amsterdam Cabinet. Because of this, and because he seems to fit into the Bosch-Bruegel tradition, he is often thought to have been Dutch and various identifications have been suggested: the latest is Erhard Reuwich, who worked on the Middle Rhine c. 1480. A few paintings are also ascribed to the Housebook Master, including the Pair of Lovers (Gotha) and one in Mainz, dated 1505, but perhaps finished by another hand. Other paintings are in Berlin and Frankfurt (Städel), but his work as an engraver was historically far more important.