Nice example of this iconic plan of 16th century f Valenciennes, which appeared in Braun & Hogenberg's 6 volume Civititas Orbis Terrarum.
The verso translates as follows:
The Loire, an exceedingly well-known river in France, flows directly past the city and is very beneficial for trade. The fields surrounding the city are very fertile, and for this reason the city is also called the granary throughout France, just as in earlier times Sicily was the granary of Rome. A famous wine also grows in this soil, which is exported from here not only throughout France but to all the countries in Europe. [...] The French spoken here is pure and uncorrupted, which is also the reason why so many foreigners settle here. For some are here for trade, others for study and others again to acquire the language, but also many without doubt for both these last two reasons, [...] and Germans in particular send their children here."
Orléans is shown here in an extraordinarily precise bird's-eye perspective that incorporates elevations of the city's many churches and monasteries, including the cathedral of Sainte-Croix, destroyed by the Huguenots a few years earlier.
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.