The artist Peter Ysselburg has already done a portrait of the "witch burner"

Bamberg was know as a printer town, because the B-36, the second most well-known bible in Germany was printed in Bamberg - with a special typography.
With the help of scientific analysis, it is possible to prove that the paper used in the bible came from trees in the surrounding woodlands of Bamberg and was processed in paper mills of the Bamberg.

There are two theories about the creator of the copperplate from 1628. We originally supported the opinion of Dr. Britta Gehm: that Matthew Merian, the old, had done the work. However, after further studies, we now believe that Peter Isselburg is the true artist.


As the enlarged signature of the portrait of the Fox of Dornheim suggests, Peter Isselburg had already been in his service. The two knew each other personally. However, aside from the artistic authorship, more posing questions are: “Why was this copperplate done?” and “Who was the principal?” The the citation taken from an answer written by the Fox of Dornheim to the imperial Reichshofrat states: "A copperplate which has been sold everywhere was added to the letter for the Reichshofrat." (High court in Vienna)

In our opinion, this statement is true, as is the following sentence said of the witch burner:

"The prince bishop has never heard that honest people would have been treated badly there. The bed stuff, food and drinking are partly better, than with the people at home."

We think, that the Fox of Dornheim himself was the principal of this copperplate and he had quite a clear political intention for the granting of this order.

The other alternative would mean: Peter Isselburg made this print, to sell it to the population, to earn a lot of money with it. Then, however, the question positions itself, why, e.g., the stoves and toilets were marked. If one liked to sell this copperplate as a creepy attraction to the population - to what extent it makes sense then to mark details which could be virtually interpreted "as custody reliefs"?

With the Fox of Dornheim as an initiator of this print quite an other logic arises: The cruel witch's justice of Bamberg was already publicised by the complaints of the chancellor Dr. Georg Haan in the beginning of 1628 at the chamber court in Speyer.

The Fox of Dornheim was also a lawyer and if he felt vulnerable because of his kind of the witch's pursuit, the "proof of a method correct after the CCC" was to be transmitted most impressively by a copperplate which should demonstrate with details faithful to graduation that one proceeds in the imperial diocese Bamberg, completely for the purposes of the imperial administration of justice with the witches and magicians.

Perspektivischer Abgleich

Comparism between calculated size and the perspective sketch of the artist Peter Ysselburg.

Not only the representation of three toilets, the six heating stoves, but also the marked fountain in front of the Malefiz house are indicators for this hypothetis. Fresh water, warmth and toilets (which were booked most probably for the guards and officials of the Fox of Dornheim) should get to believe therefore "human prison conditions".

The cells were floridly called "rooms" and in the representation the whole main building is drawn around about one quarter shortened.

The confession chamber and the "showing of the chapels" formed an important prerau's settlement at the past to guarantee soul peace of the convicted witches.

The combustion on the pyre should cause "the cleaning of the soul" that the devil had lost his lover (Buhlin) and the poor soul could still rise up to heaven.

As other clues for this theory one could interpret a logical mistake and two "slovenliness" in the copperplate.

With the projection of both floor plans on one layer is remarkable that both chimneys of the lower floor on the picture of the first floor are completely absent.

Fehler im Kupferstich

Overlay of ground floor and first floor of the MALEFIZ HOUSE