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Stock# 67546

Braun and Hogenberg's six-volume Atlas of the Cities of the World.

A handsome example of the greatest atlas of city views ever made, Georg Braun & Frans Hogenberg's Civitates Orbis Terrarum, in six volumes.

The sixth volume of this work, with many hard-to-find views of Eastern European and other cities, is increasingly difficult to find. Most of the recently-sold sets have been of the more common five-volume configuration.

Civitates Orbis Terrarum: The Greatest City Book

Georg Braun and Frans Hogenberg began the process of creating a comprehensive atlas of the cities of the world in 1572. Their book, Civitates Orbis Terrarum, was originally intended as a companion to Abraham Ortelius's Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, the first true atlas.

The great atlas was edited by Georg Braun, with Franz Hogenberg engraving many of the views. When the project was finished, the series would contain over 546 views (sometimes with multiple views on a single plate).

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. As principal editor of the Civitates, he was assisted by Abraham Ortelius in the work.

Frans Hogenberg (1535-1590) was one of the greatest engravers of his generation. Not only did he engrave most of the plates for Civitates, but he was also responsible for many of those included in Ortelius's Theatrum as well. It is possible that Hogenberg was responsible for initiating the publication of the Civitates. Hogenberg also enriched the views with figures in the foreground representing local fashions.

Civitates Orbis Terrarum includes the work of over 100 artists and topographers, perhaps most notable among them was the superlative talent of Joris Hoefnagel (1542-1600). He provided original drawings of Spanish and Italian towns, as well as reworking and improving the town drawings of other artists. After Joris's death, his son Jakob continued the project.

Jacob van Deventer (1505-1575) is also represented in the form of plans of towns of the Netherlands. Stumpf's woodcuts from the Schweizer Chronik of 1548 were also used as sources, as were Sebastien Munster's German views from the 1550 and 1572 editions of his Cosmographia. Heinrich von Rantzau (1526-1599) was the source for the Danish city views.

The Civitates provides an incredible, comprehensive view of urban life in the late 16th century. Many of the views in these volumes are the earliest of their respective towns -- either absolutely, or they are predated only by impossible rarities, as in the case of London. As such, this singular and indispensable source for understanding the early modern world.

Condition Description
Six parts in three volumes. Folio. 19th-century full stiff vellum; covers with three-line gilt rule; spines in seven compartments separated by raised bands, with red morocco lettering pieces in the second and fourth: "G. Brun Sen Braun - Civitates Orbis Terrarum." and "Liber Primus-Secundus" etc., the other compartments with repeat gilt roll-tools and another small gilt device.
348 (of 363) double-page plates of city views. 5 (of 6) engraved title pages. Letterpress indexes. Latin text. Lacking the following plates: Volume I, 7 and 34; Volume II, 46; Volume IV, 2, 27, and 39; Volume V, 15, 27, 58, 60, and 65; Volume VI, 21, 23, 23, and 24. Lacking the frontispiece and index for volume 6. Brixia Tyrlois, Escorial, and Prospectus amoeniss supplied in early hand-color, some loss to the latter of the three. Ornatissimi Triumphi Uti L Paullus attributed to Duperac is added to this copy extra-illustrating it, though there is a large ink stain to the right side of the image.
Georg Braun Biography

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 Biography

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.