Second state of this etched and engraved map of the British Isles with a view of Prague, by the master printmaker, Wenceslas Hollar.
The map was initially made in 1643, to compare the newly-raging English Civil War, with the Bohemian Revolt in Hollar's native land. To this end, Hollar has included a view of the Battle of White Mountain from 1620, in the early stages of the Thirty Years War. Hollar draws that scene together with a map of the British Isles (covered as it is by mobilized troops and scenes of destruction) through clever use of the double-headed Imperial eagle - half in the British Isles, half in the scene of Prague.
The central images are surrounded by seventeen vignette scenes of historical events corresponding to the rhyming couplets beneath the illustration. Hollar offers a contemporary political commentary - the reference to historical events draws certain parallels with contemporary ones.
Pennington 543, comments:
The signification of the des. is the influence on England of the Stuart involvement in European affairs as a consequence of the support given to Frederick, the son-in-law of James I, a baneful influence symbolised by the black Imperial eagle in the c. of the des.
A variant version exists that has usually been considered a copy. But its lettering is indubitably H.'s, and in fact the whole des. is his. It can be recognised by the following differences: the top row of squares is lettered N, O, P, Q. Q; in V the letter is on the wall and not immediately above the Elector's head; the scene R and Q is now R and S; the M in the circular scene of the milkmaid is now above her arm and not by the cow's tail; there are two ships beneath the Isle of Wight, one sailing r., the other l. In the view of Prague there is now an avenue of trees leading to the l. from the Hradčany.