"Pictavia vulgo Poictiers [on sheet with] La Pierre Levee Demie Lieue de Poictiers [and] Prospectus Montis Henrici vulgo Montherri", Braun & Hogenberg
Subject: Western France
Period: 1561 (dated)
Publication: Civitates Orbis Terrarum
Color: Hand Color
19.5 x 14.5 inches
49.5 x 36.8 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 interesting sheet contains three views drawn and engraved by Georg Hoefnagel. At top is a beautiful panoramic view of the city of Poitiers. At bottom are scenes of a megalithic monument near the city and the fortified town of Mont Henri to the north of Orleans. The engraving of the dolmen at Poitiers is particularly interesting as it shows the tradition of local scholars who, "when they have nothing else to do, pass the time by climbing up onto the stone and banqueting there with large quantities of bottles, hams and pastries, and inscribing their names on the capstone with a knife." The scene shows Georg Hoefnagel and his colleagues inscribing their names in the stone. Latin text on verso.
References: Fussel, pp. 378-80.
Attractive color on watermarked paper with minor offsetting, a few small spots, and an archivally repaired hole at top left, with minute loss of image. Remargined on all sides, with some loss of neatline.