"Hamburgum", Braun & Hogenberg
Subject: Hamburg, Germany
Period: 1597 (circa)
Publication: Civitates Orbis Terrarum, Vol. IV
Color: Hand Color
18.9 x 14.6 inches
48 x 37.1 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 superb bird's-eye view of Hamburg was probably derived from David Frese and Heinrich von Rantzau. The beautiful city is situated at the confluence of the Elbe and Alster Rivers and protected by an extensive network of canals and fortification walls. The original settlement lay around the Domplatz to the right of center in the engraving adjacent to St. Peter's cathedral. The engraving shows the Altstadt (Old Town) as it was before 1600, crowded and traversed by narrow canals, or Fleeten, that are bordered by warehouses. By the late 16th century, Hamburg was an important town for trade, as shown by the many ships crowding the port. A pair of prosperous locals grace the foreground of the engraving. French manuscript text on verso.
References: Fussel, pp. 312-14.
Excellent impression and color on watermarked paper with a printer's crease adjacent to centerfold at bottom and a couple of small, unobtrusive spots. There is show-through of manuscript text on verso in top blank margin. There is a dark pencil line in left blank margin and several tiny holes, all away from image.