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Hugo Bürkner preliminary drawings for Georg Wigand's Robinson Crusoe


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Hugo Leopold Friedrich Heinrich Bürkner was a German painter, illustrator, and printmaker. He was born to Leopold Bürkner, who was the director of the Dessau police, on August 24, 1818.

Bürkner married his first wife Marie Mendheim (1820-1847) in 1836. He had eight children, including Konrad, Richard, Clara, Fanny, Emma, Anna, Gertrud, and Marie. It is unclear which children, if any, he shared with Marie Mendheim and little is known about a future wife or wives.

Bürkner was a student of the court painter Heinrich Beck and an 1837 graduate of the Dusseldorf Art Academy. He later became a professor in the woodcutting studio at the Dresden Art Academy. He worked on the German Youth Calendar with Robert Reinick in 1847 and 1948, which was published by Georg Wigand.

Bürkner died on January 17, 1897 and is buried at the Trinitatisfriedhof in Dresden.

Georg Wigund (February 13, 1808-February 9, 1858) was a publisher and bookseller based in Leipzig, Germany. In 1822, he moved to the Hungarian city of Koschau, where he trained in business with his brother Otto Wigund (1795-1870). After four years in Koschau, he spent time in Pressburg and Pest.

He founded his Leipzig-based publishing house, Verlag Georg Wigand in 1834, which became known for publishing fairytale books and, to a lesser extent, encyclopedias. Wigand's style was also known for its use of woodcut prints.

In 1856, he opened an antiquarian bookstore with Albrecht Kirchhoff.

Georg Wigund died of liver disease in 1848. After his death, his brother assumed operations of the publishing business and renamed it Verlag Otto Wigand.

Robinson Crusoe is a novel by Daniel Dafoe, first published on April 25, 1719, that gives an autobiographical-style account of the titular character's trials as a castaway who spends 28 years on a remote tropical desert island. It is one of the most widely-published books in history.


"Hugo Leopold Friedrich Heinrich Bürkner." Collections Online | British Museum, Accessed 9 Oct. 2023.

Pfau, Karl Friedrich. "Wigand, Georg." General German Biography, Volume 42, Historical Commission at the Bavarian Academy of Sciences, 1897, pp. 449–451.

"Repertorium Der Bei Der Königl. Kunst-Akademie Zu Düsseldorf Aufbewahrten Sammlungen." Digitale Sammlungen / Repertorium Der Bei... [58] / Suche Sohn, Accessed 9 Oct. 2023.

"Wigand, Georg (February 13, 1808 - February 9, 1858)." Geographicus Rare Antique Maps, Accessed 9 Oct. 2023.

This collection is comprised of 22 sheets containing around 110 illustrations by Hugo Bürkner prepared for Georg Wigand's 1855 edition of Robinson Crusoe.

The illustrations are numbered 1 through 111. Illustrations numbered three, six, and eleven through fifteen are missing or were not created. Some of the numbers accompanying the illustrations have been crossed out and changed, including 25, which became 20; 26, which became 21; and 17, which became 22. Each sheet contains between four and six illustrations, with two sheets containing illustrations on both sides of the sheet.

The illustrations are drawn in pencil with the exception of some pen tracing on image number nine. There are notes, scribbles, and sketches in the margins on several of the sheets.

In the published volume, the illustrations are largely in the same order as the numbering of the sketches. However, the early illustrations are far less consistent with the order of the sketches. In comparing the sketches with the published volume, it appears that, at this phase, the composition of the illustrations had been finalized, but the orientation and order had not. Some of the images have been reversed in the final, printed version.

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Kelin Baldridge Smallwood
Finding Aid Date
2023 October 9

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Preliminary drawings for Georg Wigand's Robinson Crusoe, circa 1855.
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