Catalog Archive
Auction 118, Lot 554

"Londinum Feracissimi Angliae Regni Metropolis", Braun & Hogenberg

Subject: England, London

Period: 1572 (published)

Publication: Civitates Orbis Terrarum, part I

Color: Hand Color

19 x 13 inches
48.3 x 33 cm
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Braun & Hogenberg's Civitates Orbis Terrarum or "Cities of the World" was published between 1572 and 1617. Within the six volumes, 531 towns and cities were depicted on 363 plates, providing the reader with the pleasures of travel without the attendant discomforts. Braun wrote in the preface to the third book, "What could be more pleasant than, in one's own home far from all danger, to gaze in these books at the universal form of the earth . . . adorned with the splendor of cities and fortresses and, by looking at pictures and reading the texts accompanying them, to acquire knowledge which could scarcely be had but by long and difficult journeys?" Braun and Hogenberg incorporated an astonishing wealth of information into each scene beyond the city layout and important buildings. The plates provide an impression of the economy and prominent occupations, and illustrate local costumes, manners and customs.

This bird’s-eye view of London is the first plan in the entire Civitates series. It was based on the now-lost twenty-sheet plan believed to have been made between 1547 and 1559. Tudor London with its suburbs now extends outside the city walls. At the heart of the city is St. Paul's cathedral with its tall spire, which was destroyed in 1561. The gardens of the manor houses and palaces stretch out in the direction of Charing Cross, linking the mercantile city with the royal court at Westminster. Across the Thames, spanned by the magnificent London Bridge, Southwark is depicted along with the bull/bear baiting rings, immensely popular sports during the Elizabethan era. The river is teeming with ships and a variety of boats. The two panels of text, which flank the costumed figures in the foreground, describe the vibrant economy of London. Latin text on verso.

References: Goss (Cities) #31; Howgego #2.

Condition: A

Good impression and old color with slight oxidation. Some minor stains in blank margins. Remnants of framer's hinges on verso.

Estimate: $5,000 - $6,000

Sold for: $6,500

Closed on 3/6/2007