1575 Braun & Hogenberg Large Antique Print a View of Mechelen, Belgium

Cartographer : Braun & Hogenberg

  • Title : Mechelen - Nitidissimae Civitatis Mechlineensis in meditullio Brabantiae sitae, exactis: delineatio
  • Ref #:  16247
  • Size: 21in x 16in (535mm x 410mm)
  • Date : 1575
  • Condition: (A+) Fine Condition

This fine beautifully hand coloured original antique map a birds-eye view of the city of Mechelen in the Antwerp province of Flanders, Belgium was published by Georg Braun & Frans Hogenberg for the 1575 atlas of town plans Civiates Orbis Terrarum Vol II (1572-1612) intended as a companion to Abraham Ortelius's master Atlas Theatrum Orbis Terrarum published in 1570.

Franz Hogenberg's birthplace is illustrated twice. In the view presented in Volume I the cityscape is dominated by the massive tower belonging to the cathedral of Sint-Rombout, which measures almost 100 m in height. Behind the cathedral to the right lies the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwe church built in the Brabantine late Gothic style. In the present plate Mechelen is seen in a bird's-eye view from the northwest. Clearly apparent is the almost circular shape of the inner city, which has already spread beyond the bounds of the canal ringing the old city wall. In the Middle Ages staple rights and the cloth trade brought Mechelen great prosperity. In 1336 the city passed to the Duchy of Brabant, later to Burgundy, and developed into a highly regarded centre of commerce. The collapse of the cloth industry prompted the development of new areas of manufacturing, such as cannon and bell founding. In 1477 Mechelen passed to the Habsburgs and from 1507 to 1530, under the regency of Margaret of Austria, was capital of the Habsburg Netherlands. In 1559 Mechelen became an archbishopric and over the course of the Wars of Religion grew into a centre of the Counter-Reformation. For some time it was also the seat of the highest tribunal of the Habsburg Netherlands. (Taschen)

Background of Civitates Orbis Terrarum
The first volume of the Civitates Orbis Terrarum was published in Cologne in 1572. The sixth and the final volume appeared in 1617. 
This great city atlas, edited by Georg Braun and largely engraved by Franz Hogenberg, eventually contained 546 prospects, bird-eye views and map views of cities from all over the world. Braun (1541-1622), a cleric of Cologne, was the principal editor of the work, and was greatly assisted in his project by the close, and continued interest of Abraham Ortelius, whose Theatrum Orbis Terrarum of 1570 was, as a systematic and comprehensive collection of maps of uniform style, the first true atlas.

For a variety of reasons town plans were comparatively latecomers in the long history of cartography. Few cities in Europe in the middle ages had more than 20,00 inhabitants and even London in the late Elizabethan period had only 100-150,000 people which in itself was probably 10 times that of any other English city. The Nuremberg Chronicle in 1493 included one of the first town views of Jerusalem, thereafter, for most of the sixteenth century, German cartographers led the way in producing town plans in a modern sense. In 1544 Sebastian Munster issued in Basle his Cosmographia containing roughly sixty-six plans and views, some in the plan form, but many in the old panorama or birds eye view. (Ref: Tooley; M&B)

Condition Report:
Paper thickness and quality: - Heavy and stable
Paper color: - off white
Age of map color: - Early
Colors used: - Green, blue, red, yellow
General color appearance: - Authentic
Paper size: - 21in x 16in (535mm x 410mm)
Plate size: - 18 1/2in x 13 1/2in (470mm x 345mm)
Margins: - Min 1in (25mm)

Margins: - Light soiling in margins
Plate area: - None
Verso: - None