BRAUN, Georg (1541-1622) and Frans HOGENBERG (1535-1590). Civitates Orbis Terrarum. Cologne: Godfried von Kempen, 1588, 1575, 1588, 1588, n.d. and 1618.
6 volumes bound in 3, 2o (420 x 290 mm, 423 x 280 mm, and 411 x 278 mm). Latin text. 6 engraved architectural titles, 362 (of 363, lacks plate 51, Orivetum in volume III) engraved plates, double-page and 3 folding, including 235 FULLY COLORED BY A CONTEMPORARY HAND (vols. I-IV), of detailed town views and plans by Frans Hogenberg and Simon Novellanus after Josef Hoefnagel and others (light marginal dust soiling and occasional mostly marginal dampstaining, heavier at end of volume II, a few plates with short mariginal tears, 7 plates with tears or repairs affecting image, and 6 plates with short fold breaks, volume III with first 12 plates with minor worming to blank portion of gutter margin, and last 9 plates with tiny worm hole within image and index leaves, last leaf of index laid down, volume V with large stain to plate 46, preliminary text leaves of vol. V bound after volume VI probably lacking 4/1 and 4/2). Contemporary calf volumes I and II matching, with central blind-stamped arabesque, volume III gilt decorated, lettered and dated "1622" (all volumes rebacked, with corners repaired). Provenance: early ink marginalia (mostly to text); John Towneley (18th-century armorial bookplate in each volume).
Mixed edition and a combined set with first 4 volumes colored by a contemporary hand, of the first comprehensive atlas of town plans and "one of the best-selling works in the last quarter of the 16th century. Although the Civitates had no precedent, it immediately answered a great public demand, because social, political and economic life at that time was concentrated in cities" (Koeman II, p. 10). Copies were issued in black and white and in colors. The true contemporary color (as seen in the first four volumes of this copy) of the Civitates has the pigments mixed with white to create an opaque effect. Braun and Hogenberg relied on existing maps, but also on maps made after drawings by the Antwerp artist Joris Hoefnagel (1542-1600), who had travelled through most of Western Europe. After Joris Hoefnagel's death his son Jakob continued the work for the Civitates. Another important source for maps was the Danish cartographer Heinrich van Rantzau (1526-1599), beter known under his Latin name Rantzovius, who provided maps of Northern Europe, specially of Danish cities. Other sources were unpublished works of Jacob van Deventer (1505-1575), also known as Jacob Roelofsz, and of over a hundred other artists and engravers. Koeman II, B&H 1-6. (3)