Catalog Archive
Auction 166, Lot 733

Old Colored Example of Volume I

"Civitates Orbis Terrarum, Liber Primus", Braun & Hogenberg

Subject: Atlases

Period: 1574 (published)


Color: Hand Color

11.7 x 16.1 inches
29.7 x 40.9 cm
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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 is an incomplete, but gorgeous full-color example of Volume I of Braun & Hogenberg's Civitates Orbis Terrarum (Cities of the World), the first atlas of town plans. Included are 84 city views on 36 sheets (out of the original 59 sheets). Some of the most sought-after city views are included in this volume, including Rome, Venice, Istanbul, Amsterdam, Budapest, Vienna, Milan, Naples, Cairo, and Brussels. Full list of maps:

1. Toletum [on sheet with] Vallisoletum ... Vallodolid. Condition: Short repaired centerfold separation at bottom. (A)
2. Burgos Celebris et Antiqua Hispaniae Civitas [on sheet with] Sanct. Sebatianum vulgo Donostien. Condition: Small abrasion at center of top view. (B+)
3. Monspessulanis, Montpellier [on sheet with] Turo, Tours [and] Pictavus, sive Pictavia. Condition: Centerfold separation confined to bottom blank margin. (A)
4. Rotomagus, sive Roan [on sheet with] Nemausus, Nismes Civitas Narbonensis Galliae [and] Civitatis Burdegalensis. Condition: A centerfold separation in the top view and several abrasions along the centerfold. (B)
5. Lugdunum. Condition: Several small abrasions along the centerfold. (B+)
6. Mons [on sheet with] Arras. Condition: Several small abrasions along the centerfold and a long centerfold separation at bottom. (B)
7. Bruxella. Condition: One very small abrasion at center. (A)
8. Gandauum. Condition: Centerfold separation that enters the map border at bottom. (B+)
9. Brugae. Condition: A few minor abrasions along the centerfold. (A)
10. Tshertogenbosch [on sheet with] Loeven [and] Machelen. Condition: Centerfold separation enters 1" into image at bottom and a long tear adjacent to the centerfold at top has been repaired with old paper on verso. (B)
11. Trajectum. Condition: Centerfold separation enters 1" into image at bottom, and there is an adjacent 1" tear in the image. (B)
12. Amstelredanum. Condition: Two small abrasions in the image. (A)
13. Groeninga [on sheet with] Broversavia [and] Goricum. Condition: Map is detached. (A)
14. Lubec [on sheet with] Hamburch. Condition: (A)
15. Wittenbruga [on sheet with] Wismaria [and] Civitatas Francfordiensis [and] Rostochium. Condition: Several small abrasions along the centerfold. (A)
16. Dresden-Dresa [on sheet with] Leibzigk. Condition: Centerfold separation enters 1.5" into image at bottom, and one tiny abrasion. (B+)
17. Praga [on sheet with] Erga. Condition: A couple of small abrasions in the image and an unrepaired tear that enters 1/2" into bottom view. (B+)
18. Magdeburgum. Condition: (A)
19. Decem et Tria Loca Confoederatorum Helvetiae: Suicia, Schwytz ad Foederis Societatem Reciptur. Condition: (A)
20. Argentoratum, Strasburg. Condition: Some minor color offsetting along the centerfold. (A)
21. Treveris [on sheet with] Cobolentz. Condition: Partial sheet missing 3rd view of Rotenburg. Detached from binding. (A)
22. Vienna [on sheet with] Buda. Condition: Light soiling. (B+)
23. Mediolanum. Mediolanum Metropolis Insubrum, vulgo Milano. Condition: (A)
24. Venetia. Condition: Light soiling with a few small abrasions along the centerfold. (B+)
25. Genua [on sheet with] Florentia. Condition: One small abrasions along the centerfold at top and a tear that enters 1" into map at bottom. (B+)
26. Roma. Condition: One small abrasion in the border at top center. (A)
27. Ancona. Condition: One small abrasion in the border at top center and light color offsetting. (B+)
28. Haec est Nobilis et Florens illa Neapolis. Condition: Light color offsetting along the centerfold. (A)
29. Parma [on sheet with] Sena [and] Panhormus, Palermo [and] Drepanum. Condition: Light color offsetting along the centerfold and a small abrasion in the bottom border at center. (B+)
30. Messana, urbs est Siciliae Maxima. Condition: (A)
31. Calaris [on sheet with] Rhodus [and] Malta [and] Famaugusta. Condition: (A)
32. Byzantium nunc Constantinopolis. Condition: Centerfold separation that enters 3" into image at bottom, with light color offsetting. A few tears in the blank margins have been repaired on verso with old paper. (B)
33. Aden [on sheet with] Mombaza [and] Quiloa [and] Cefala. Condition: A long unrepaired tear in the image and a large chip along the centerfold at bottom, entering 4" into image. (C)
34. Cairos quae olim Babylon. Condition: A long centerfold separation that enters 4" into image and an adjacent tiny tear. (B)
35. Tingus [on sheet with] Traffin [and] Septa [and] Arzilla [and] Sala. Condition: (A)
36. Anfa [on sheet with] Azaamurum [and] Diu [and] Goa. Condition: Centerfold separation enters 1/2" into image at bottom. (B+)

Folio, with 36 map sheets. Missing 23 map sheets, title page, frontispiece, preface, and introductory text pages. Hardbound in original full calf with a centrally placed armorial with title and embossing on covers, the spine in six compartments with raised bands.

References: Shirley (BL Atlases) T.BRA-1a.


The maps are in full contemporary color on bright sheets with marginal soiling. A number of maps have a short centerfold separation in the bottom blank margin, most of which have been repaired on verso with old paper. See description above for additional condition details on each map. (Separations and tears listed above are not repaired unless indicated.) The binding is somewhat loose and the hinges are nearly perished. The covers and spine are in poor shape, with moderate soiling and large chips and abrasions. The covers are also cracked.

Estimate: $10,000 - $12,000

Sold for: $10,000

Closed on 2/14/2018