By: Georg Braun and Franz Hogenberg
Date: 1574 (Published) Cologne
Dimensions: 13.25 x 18.5 inches (33.7 x 47 cm)
This engraving from an early edition of Braun and Hogenberg’s Civitates Orbis Terrarum features three panoramic views on one sheet, depicting the cities of Groningen, Broversavia and Gorcum. The cities are rendered in all their mid-16th century splendor with a brief description in a small cartouche accompanying each image, and additional details in Latin on the verso.
The city of Groningen is shown situated on a small hill, protected by splendid defensive features including moats, walls and towers. Characteristic for the era are the densely packed houses and the Martinitoren, a tall tower in the center. In the 13th century the city attained great importance because of its favorable position, and it became a Hanseatic city in 1282. Many merchants settled here and Groningen developed into a flourishing trade center. In 1536 the city passed to the Habsburgs and finally in 1594 to the United Netherlands. In 1614 the university was founded.
Broversavia is a town on the Island of Zeeland, which also bears the name of Scaldia after the River Scalde. As noted by Braun, Zeeland lies on the sea and is spread across numerous islands. Richly populated villages, settlements and dairy farms are found there, as well as splendid noblemen's and town houses and palaces. It is a small and well-built town whose inhabitants go out to sea and are industrious fishermen, because fish is exported from Broversavia to various parts of the world.
The town arose in the middle of the 12th century as a port on the Island of Schouwen-Duiveland, directly on Lake Grevelingen in the northern Netherlandish province of Zeeland. It owes its name ("brewers' port") to its earlier involvement in the beer trade. Due to the lack of spring water, Zeeland in the Middle Ages had no brewery of its own and so had to import its beer from Holland. The large church of Sint-Nicolaas (left) was begun in 1325, but the town hall would not be built until 1599. After economically difficult times, in the mid-19th century Broversavia enjoyed renewed prosperity when it temporarily took over Rotterdam's role as a point of transfer for goods and passengers travelling overseas.
Gorinchem is described as a notable town in Flanders. Braun noted that ‘past the town of Gorinchem flows the Waal, one of the three distributaries through which the Rhine empties into the ocean. From a high tower here one can see in total 22 towns, all well- fortified with city walls, as well as many dairy farms and noblemen's houses. There are also very fertile pastures here, which enable the inhabitants to produce butter, milk and cheese, which they export to Antwerp and other cities.’ It is obvious that fishing is also a tradition in the town of Gorinchem, seen here in side view.
Located in the province of South Holland, Gorinchem was already a walled farming and fishing village by around 1000 and was eventually granted its charter in 1382. The Gothic Grote Kerk, with its Sint-Jans tower some 60 m high, was built in the second half of the 15th century - in the illustration it dominates all the other buildings in the town. In 1566 Gorinchem's population became Protestant, and during the Eighty Years' War a number of Catholic clergymen were murdered here by Geuzen (Netherlandish freedom fighters). After a period of economic decline, the town revived in the 19th century with the building of the railway and of inland canals.
The engraving is embellished with the royal coat of arms and arms of two of the cities. An intriguing hand-written notation reading ‘AD 1610’ in an obviously old hand is in the right margin, perhaps signifying the date of the original map owner’s visit to the city?
Condition: This engraving is in B+ condition. Centerfold separation in the lower margin, some foxing primarily in the margins.
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