"Chester in Engelland", Meisner, Daniel
Subject: Chester, England
Period: 1638 (published)
Publication: Sciographia Cosmica
Color: Hand Color
5.8 x 3.5 inches
14.7 x 8.9 cm
This panoramic view of Chester shows the city on the River Dee. In the foreground is a figure with snakes for hair, holding a snake in one hand and a heart in the other. The figure is the personification of envy, illustrating the Latin and German text above and below the view, which translates as "Thou enviest every man his happiness and yet thou canst not prevent it. The envious man torments himself the most, by perpetually gnawing his own heart."
Meisner's emblem book, containing over 800 pictorial-poetic compositions, was enormously popular throughout Europe in the 17th century. The plan views were based on the work of De Bry, Braun & Hogenberg, Merian and others with the addition of emblematic figures or scenes in the foreground, juxtaposed with moralizing and edifying verses beneath the image and a Latin motto at top. It was originally issued with 52 plates as the Thesaurus philo-politicus in 1623-24. After Meisner's death in 1625, Eberhard Kieser, with assistance from Johann L. Gottfried, completed the work and published it until 1631. The plates then appeared in the eight parts of Sciographia Cosmica published by Paulus Furst between 1637-78. The plates for these editions were renumbered alphanumerically in the upper right corners - A-H (identifying the 8 parts) and 1-100 (plate number). They were finally issued in 1700 and 1704 in Rudolf J. Helmer's Politica-politica.
References: King (2nd ed.) pp. 104-5.
There is a tiny hole near center caused by a paper flaw, and marginal soiling.