Fantastically colored example of Braun and Hogenberg's view of the Palace of Nonsuch, home of the Tudors. Published in their Civitates Orbis Terrarum, this work includes a sweeping view of one of Henry VIII's biggest architectural legacies and, below it, a parade of English noblemen and women.
Nonsuch, so named because there was no similar palace anywhere in the world, was built to rival the French Chateau de Chambord. At the time of this view's creation, it had actually briefly passed out of royal hands into that of the Earl of Arundel, although it would be returned by the 1590s. The palace would be destroyed in the 17th century. Its remains lie in Nonsuch Park, located in southwestern London.
The view shows a carriage with a well-dressed noblewoman and a large retainer, it may be assumed that this is Queen Elizabeth. The people shown below include noblemen, merchants, maidens, fish sellers, and more.
The work is based on one of Georg Hofnagel's drawings showing the palace as seen from the south.
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.