c1575 Coloured Map of La Rochelle by Braun & Hogenberg


A rare early engraved printed map of La Rochelle, in France, which has been hand coloured.

The map is by Braun & Hogenberg and has been mounted, framed in black wood and glazed. The reverse has also been glazed in order to see the accompanying text, printed on the reverse of the engraved sheet. The description was compiled by Braun, whereas the drawing belonged to Hogenberg. Condition is good, but with some creasing and staining to the paper. The engraving shows La Rochelle from the northeast in a bird's-eye view. In the harbour area can be seen the characteristic towers of the city fortifications: on the right the Tour de la Lanterne, on the left next to it the Tour de la Chaine and the Tour Saint-Nicolas. In the middle of the city is the Renaissance town hall, the Hôtel de ville, with its tall, narrow bell tower.

La Rochelle was founded in the 10th century and just 200 years later had the biggest harbour on the Atlantic coast. In 1137 La Rochelle was made a free port; in 1199 it was granted a town charter that freed it from feudal domination. This resulted in the city being able to elect a mayor and have its own jurisdiction, which at the time was unprecedented in the history of France. During the Hundred Years' War, the naval battle of La Rochelle took place in 1372, in which France succeeded in wresting control over the English Channel from the English. In the 16th century the city became a centre of the Huguenots and resisted besiegement by the Catholics - until Cardinal Richelieu was able to occupy it on behalf of Louis XIII.

Georg Braun (1541-1622) and Frans Hogenberg (1535-1590) were co-publishers of the monumental Civitates Orbis Terrarum, “the earliest systematic city atlas”, published from 1572 onwards. Designed as a companion to Ortelius’ world atlas the Theatrum, this enormous work, which was expanded to six volumes by 1617 incorporating over 500 plans and views, and must be viewed as one of the most ambitious book producing ventures of all time, and certainly, with Ortelius’ Theatrum and Blaeu’s Atlas Maior among the greatest achievements in the history of cartography.

Size image: 37.5 x 34 cm (14 ¾ x 13 3/8 inches)
Size frame: 58 x 54.5 x 1.2 cm (22 7/8 x 21 ½ x ½ inches)
Weight: 3155 g