Catalog Archive

Auction 168, Lot 481

"Bethune / Bethunae Urbis Artesiae Genvina Descrip", Braun & Hogenberg

Subject: Bethune, France

Period: 1620 (circa)

Publication: Civitates Orbis Terrarum, Vol. IV

Color: Hand Color

17.7 x 11.6 inches
45 x 29.5 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.

Uncommon view of Bethune, located in Pas-de-Calais. The fortified city is filled with meticulously detailed buildings, some named above. The view provides a fine depiction of the strong walls that had been augmented by Charles V in 1553. The surrounding countryside is filled with livestock and people engaged in activities including playing boules, doing laundry, farming and traveling. French text on verso.

References: Fussel, p. 277.

Condition: B+

A nice impression on watermarked paper with a tiny abrasion in the top cartouche, minor toning, and a few extraneous creases.

Estimate: $275 - $350


Closed on 6/6/2018