Auction 149, Lot 431

"Nordovicum, Angliae Civitas", Braun & Hogenberg

Subject: Norwich, England

Period: 1581 (circa)

Publication: Civitates Orbis Terrarum

Color: Hand Color

16.6 x 11.5 inches
42.2 x 29.2 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 fine view of Norwich is based on William Cuningham's plan of 1558. Viewed from the northwest, its situation on a bend in the River Wensum is shown surrounded by verdant farms and pastures. The Norman Cathedral of the Holy and Undivided Trinity is at the heart of the city and to the right, on top of a small hill, is the castle. In the center foreground of the picture are a man and woman in customary local dress. A key at lower left describes 21 sites including 11 gates into the city. The arms of England and the city arms flank the title cartouche. Latin text on verso.

References: Fussel pp. 202-204.

Condition: B

Old color on a toned sheet with light scattered foxing, a tiny wormhole near the centerfold, and one crack in cartouche at bottom left that has been archivally repaired. There are a few edge tears that have all been archivally repaired, only two of which touch the neatline at top.

Estimate: $400 - $500

Sold for: $300

Closed on 5/21/2014