Auction 136, Lot 555

"Hala, ad Cocharum Flumen in Suevia Opsalis foecunditate, nobile", Braun & Hogenberg

Subject: Schwabisch Hall, Germany

Period: 1581 (circa)

Publication: Civitates Orbis Terrarum

Color: Hand Color

19.5 x 13 inches
49.5 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 is the earliest know view of the ancient city of Schwabisch Hall, famed for its abundance of salt. The view is looking across the River Kocher to the city with its surrounding fortifications, ramparts, towers, and protective bridges. The distinctive Romanesque tower of the 15th century St. Michael's Church is the most prominent feature, but it also depicts Gallows Hill (Galegenberg) and the hangman's bridge of Henkersbruck. Well dressed figures in the foreground exhibit the dress and style of the period. The decorative cartouche in the sky is flaked by coats-of-arms of the city and the German Empire. A large cartouche holds the key to 22 important buildings and places in the city.

References: Goss (Cities) pp. 174-175.

Condition: B+

Nice impression and strong original color. On a sheet with full margins, but there is a small bit of the lower left corner torn away, well away from map image. There is a tiny piece of paper transfer on centerfold at upper border just above cartouche.

Estimate: $600 - $800

Sold for: $375

Closed on 6/1/2011