BRUSSELS 1594 -- Descriptio et explicatio pegmatum, arcuum et spectaculorum, quae Bruxellae Brabant. pridie cal. febr. 1594, exhibita fuere sub ingressum sereniss. princ. Ernesti...archiducis Austriae, ducis Burgundiae...per Philippo II, Hispaniarum monarcha, Belgiae ditionis gubernatore. Brussels: Johannes Mommaert, 1594.
2o (395 x 272 mm). Engraved title-page (a bit frayed at edges) and 22 engraved plates (including 8 double-page and one large folding cavalcade on joined sheets). (Some minor marginal soiling, a few stains.) Contemporary limp vellum. Provenance: Monsieur de Praile (signature on upper title margin dated 1675); Bibliothèque de Presle (later stamp of that family's library); Monsieur le Comte Stanislas de Meeüs d'Argenteuil (bookplate).
A splendid fête book celebrating the magnificent entry of ARCHDUKE ERNEST OF AUSTRIA into Brussels in 1594. Archduke Ernest of Austria (1553-1595) was a son of Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor and Maria of Spain. He was educated with his brother Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor, in the court of Spain. In 1573 and 1587, he was a candidate for the throne of Poland. From 1576 onwards, he was governor in the Archduchy of Austria, where he promoted the counter-reformation. In 1590, he became governor of Inner Austria as regent for his young cousin Ferdinand, and from 1594 to 1595 he served as governor of the Spanish Netherlands.
"Neither the magnificence nor the pedantry of the spectacles by which the entry of the mild and inefficient Ernest into Brussels and Antwerp was now solemnized had ever been surpassed. The town councils, stimulated by hopes absolutely without foundation as to great results to follow the advent of the emperor's brother, had voted large sums and consumed many days in anxious deliberation upon the manner in which they should be expended so as most to redound to the honour of Ernest and the reputation of the country. In place of the 'bloody tragedies of burning, murdering, and ravishing,' of which the provinces had so long been the theatre, it was resolved that, 'Rhetoric's sweet comedies, amorous jests, and farces,' should gladden all eyes and hearts. A stately procession of knights and burghers in historical and mythological costumes, followed by ships, dromedaries, elephants, whales, giants, dragons, and other wonders of the sea and shore, escorted the archduke into the city. Every street and square was filled with triumphal arches, statues and platforms, on which the most ingenious and thoroughly classical living pictures were exhibited. There was hardly an eminent deity of Olympus, or hero of ancient history, that was not revived and made visible to mortal eyes in the person of Ernestus of Austria" (Motley, History of the United Netherlands). Landwehr Splendid Ceremonies 54; Praz II, p. 184; Ruggieri 1063; Vinet 619.