"Hesdyn Fort", Braun & Hogenberg
Subject: Northern France
Period: 1588 (circa)
Publication: Civitates Orbis Terrarum, Vol. IV
Color: Hand Color
18.1 x 13.1 inches
46 x 33.3 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 striking bird's-eye plan shows the town of Hesdin from the south. Published almost thirty five years after the town had been destroyed and rebuilt by Charles V, the plan details the town's impressive moat and fortifications, depicting soldiers and cannons in each of the five bastions. The most prominent detail within the town walls is a castle defended by its own moat. There are three cartouches, two blank and the third featuring an alternate title: Hesdinum Oppidum et Castrum in Expugnabile.... Well-dressed figures appear in the foreground at bottom right.
References: Fussel, p. 278-80.
On a bright sheet with a light damp stain at left and a centerfold separation at bottom that has been closed with old paper. Remnants of hinge tape on verso.