Auction 126, Lot 516

"Bruxella, urbs auficorum frequentia, fontium copia…", Braun & Hogenberg

Subject: Belgium, Brussels

Period: 1572 (published)

Publication: Civitates Orbis Terrarum

Color: Hand Color

18.8 x 13 inches
47.8 x 33 cm

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 great plan of the city shows every individual building, the circling moat with numerous bridges, and more. The entire city is surrounded by the fortified wall with many turrets and towers. Strong fortifications were employed to protect Brussels, still the city relied heavily on trade as evidenced by the waterways passing through the walls to permit commerce. Numerous ships are shown entering the city and moored within it. At left is a list of more than fifty important buildings which is keyed to the plan. At lower right the architectural themed cartouche encloses the Latin title. The coat-of-arms for Belgium and the city are displayed at the upper corners. French text on verso with page number 15 below the right page. An uncommon plan.


Condition: B+

The centerfold is cleanly split in the lower portion with repair on verso.

Estimate: $1,000 - $1,400

Sold for: $650

Closed on 12/3/2008