Detailed early plan of Haarlem.
The translation of the title cartouche is as follows:
Harlemum, or, as Hadrianus Barlandus writes, Herlemum, a renowned Dutch city, founded by an illustrious man who had the German name Lem; the city was therefore called Herr-Lems-Stadt in German. We say Harlemum in Latin, with the same meaning. Here there is a great market square, beautiful houses, an admirable church. The city is a charming location. Immediately after leaving the walls behind one, one enters a grove where various bird songs can be heard, and where there live timid deer, fleeing stags, hares, rabbits, in short all manner of wild animal.
The translation of the text on the verso is as follows:
The art of book printing is said to have been invented in Haarlem, as attested by various sources. But the first inventor of this art died before he had assembled all the things he needed for printing. His servant then travelled to Mainz and there began to practise the newly invented art."
Haarlem, a trade city whose favourable position on the coast is shown in a bird's-eye view from the southeast, was experiencing a great economic and demographic upturn at the time of the publication of this engraving, following the Agreement of Veere in 1577, when it was returned to the House of Orange. Around 1573 it had a population of 18,000, which by 1622 had risen to 40,000. Many Flemings came here to escape from the Spanish occupation and because of the flourishing textile industry. After a devastating fire laid by the Spanish had destroyed almost 500 buildings, the architect Lieven de Key planned much of the reconstruction work. The tulip trade also flourished in Haarlem in the 17th century. The three-nave Sint-Baafskerk with its wooden tower and the town hall can still be seen in the Grote Markt today. Here stands a bronze statue of Laurens Coster, who according to a local legend invented the art of book printing in 1423.
This engraving is made after a map by Jacob van Deventer.
Georg Braun (1541-1622) was born and died in Cologne. His primary vocation was as Catholic cleric; he spent thirty-seven years as canon and dean at the church St. Maria ad Gradus, in Cologne. Braun was the chief editor of the Civitates orbis terrarum, the greatest book of town views ever published. His job entailed hiring artists, acquiring source material for the maps and views, and writing the text. In this role, he was assisted by Abraham Ortelius. Braun lived into his 80s, and he was the only member of the original team to witness the publication of the sixth volume in 1617.
Frans Hogenberg (ca. 1540-ca. 1590) was a Flemish and German engraver and mapmaker who also painted. He was born in Mechelen, south of Antwerp, the son of wood engraver and etcher Nicolas Hogenberg. Together with his father, brother (Remigius), uncle, and cousins, Frans was one member of a prominent artistic family in the Netherlands.
During the 1550s, Frans worked in Antwerp with the famous mapmaker Abraham Ortelius. There, he engraved the maps for Ortelius’ groundbreaking first atlas, published in Antwerp in 1570, along with Johannes van Deotecum and Ambrosius and Ferdinand Arsenius. It is suspected he engraved the title page as well. Later, Ortelius supported Hogenberg with information for a different project, the Civitates orbis terrarium (edited by Georg Braun, engraved by Hogenberg, published in six volumes, Cologne, 1572-1617). Hogenberg engraved the majority of the work’s 546 prospects and views.
It is possible that Frans spent some time in England while fleeing from religious persecution, but he was living and working in Cologne by 1580. That is the city where he died around 1590. In addition to his maps, he is known for his historical allegories and portraits. His brother, Remigius, also went on to some fame as an engraver, and he died around the same time as his brother.