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Antique map of the Island of Hven (Denmark) by Georg Braun & Frans Hogenberg. c. 1593

Shows the Island of Hven, where Tycho Brahe had his observatory, Uraniborg, oriented to the west.
Two insets show the elevation and ground plan of the Uraniborg (left) and a bird's-eye view of the whole complex.

TRANSLATION OF CAPTION TOP LEFT: The castle of Urania, equipped with a great number and variety of accurately made astronomical instruments, was built in honour and for the renewal of that noble science by Tycho Brahe, the famous Dane, lord of Knudsdrup, around 1580.

CARTOUCHE BOTTOM LEFT: Topography of the Island of Hven in the famous strait in the kingdom of Denmark, which in the vernacular is called Øresund. Drawn in Cologne in 1586.

COMMENTARY BY BRAUN: "This is the description of the Island of Hven, situated in the famous strait in the Kingdom of Denmark, called the Øresund. Here there is a castle called Uraniborg, which contains a great number of ingenious astronomical instruments. It was built by Tycho Brahe, a Danish nobleman, to honour and renew the above-mentioned noble art of astronomy. ... Despite its small size, no part is useless or unfruitful, for it produces grain, has a surplus of cattle, chamois, hares, wrens and partridges in great numbers, and above all it is in a very good situation for catching fish."

The observer of the map of Denmark and the view of the Øresund has, as it were, approached the Earth from space, and has now reached his goal: the Island of Hven, from where the astronomer Tycho Brahe explored the broad expanse of the universe and made pioneering discoveries. The plate shows Uraniborg, the most famous astronomical observatory of its time. It was built by Tycho Brahe, to whom the island was given as a fief by the Danish king in 1576, and who added a second observatory with underground observation rooms in 1584. Among other things we can see Uraniborg itself (B), the workshop and house of the craftsmen who made the astronomical instruments (C) and the position of the underground observatory (D). When royal support was withdrawn, Brahe left Hven in 1597 with all his instruments and moved to the estate of his friend Heinrich Rantzau. Brahe had not been liked by the farmers on the island, who resented him so much that they destroyed the castle of Uraniborg after his departure. Today the Brahe Museum stands here. The observatory has been excavated and restored. (Taschen)


Braun G. & Hogenberg F. and the Civitates Orbis Terrarum.

The Civitates Orbis Terrarum, or the "Braun & Hogenberg", is a six-volume town atlas and the greatest book of town views and plans ever published: 363 engravings, sometimes beautifully coloured. It was one of the best-selling works in the last quarter of the 16th century. Georg Braun wrote the text accompanying the plans and views on the verso. A large number of the plates were engraved after the original drawings of Joris Hoefnagel (1542-1600), who was a professional artist. The first volume was published in Latin in 1572, the sixth volume in 1617. Frans Hogenberg created the tables for volumes I through IV, and Simon van den Neuwel created those for volumes V and VI. Other contributors were cartographer Daniel Freese, and Heinrich Rantzau. Works by Jacob van Deventer, Sebastian Münster, and Johannes Stumpf were also used. Translations appeared in German and French.

Following the original publication of Volume 1 of the Civitates in 1572, seven further editions of 1575, 1577, 1582, 1588, 1593, 1599 and 1612 can be identified. Vol.2, first issued in 1575, was followed by further editions in 1597 and in 1612. The next volumes appeared in 1581, 1588, 1593, 1599 and 1606. The German translation of the first volume appeared from 1574 on and the French edition from 1575 on.

Several printers were involved: Theodor Graminaeus, Heinrich von Aich, Gottfried von Kempen, Johannis Sinniger, Bertram Buchholtz and Peter von Brachel, who all worked in Cologne.

Georg Braun (1541-1622)

Georg Braun was born in Cologne in 1541. After his studies in Cologne he entered the Jesuit Order as a novice. In 1561 he obtained his bachelor's degree and in 1562 his Magister Artium. Although he left the Jesuit Order, he studied theology, gaining a licentiate in theology.

Frans Hogenberg (1535-1590)

Frans Hogenberg was a Flemish and German painter, engraver, and mapmaker. He was born in Mechelen as the son of Nicolaas Hogenberg.

By the end of the 1560s Frans Hogenberg was employed upon Abraham Ortelius's Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, published in 1570; he is named as engraver of numerous maps. In 1568 he was bannend from Antwerp by the Duke of Alva and travelled to London, where he stayed a few years before emigrating to Cologne. There he immediately embarked on his two most important works, the Civitates published from 1572 and the Geschichtsblätter, which appeared in several series from 1569 until about 1587.

Thanks to such large scale projects as the Geschichtsblätter and the Civitates, Hogenberg's social circumstances improved with each passing year. He died as a wealthy man in Cologne in 1590.

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Topographia Insulae Huenae in Celebri Porthmo Regni Daniae, quem vulgo Oersunt uocant. Effigiata Coloniae 1586.

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Item Number:  28962  new
Category:  Antique maps > Europe > Northern Europe
References: Van der Krogt 4 - #4987; Taschen (Br. Hog.) - p.303; Fauser - #14499

Antique map of the Island of Hven (Denmark) by Georg Braun & Frans Hogenberg.

Title: Topographia Insulae Huenae in Celebri Porthmo Regni Daniae, quem vulgo Oersunt uocant. Effigiata Coloniae 1586.

Oriented to the west.

Date of the first edition: 1588.
Date of this map: c. 1593.

Copper engraving, printed on paper.
Map size: 340 x 480mm (13.39 x 18.9 inches).
Sheet size: 395 x 520mm (15.55 x 20.47 inches).
Verso: French text.
Condition: Excellent, original coloured.
Condition Rating: A+.

From: Liber Quartus - Théatre des Principales Villes de tout L'Univers. Cologne, c. 1593. (Van der Krogt 4, 41:3.4)

Shows the Island of Hven, where Tycho Brahe had his observatory, Uraniborg, oriented to the west.
Two insets show the elevation and ground plan of the Uraniborg (left) and a bird's-eye view of the whole complex.

TRANSLATION OF CAPTION TOP LEFT: The castle of Urania, equipped with a great number and variety of accurately made astronomical instruments, was built in honour and for the renewal of that noble science by Tycho Brahe, the famous Dane, lord of Knudsdrup, around 1580.

CARTOUCHE BOTTOM LEFT: Topography of the Island of Hven in the famous strait in the kingdom of Denmark, which in the vernacular is called Øresund. Drawn in Cologne in 1586.

COMMENTARY BY BRAUN: "This is the description of the Island of Hven, situated in the famous strait in the Kingdom of Denmark, called the Øresund. Here there is a castle called Uraniborg, which contains a great number of ingenious astronomical instruments. It was built by Tycho Brahe, a Danish nobleman, to honour and renew the above-mentioned noble art of astronomy. ... Despite its small size, no part is useless or unfruitful, for it produces grain, has a surplus of cattle, chamois, hares, wrens and partridges in great numbers, and above all it is in a very good situation for catching fish."

The observer of the map of Denmark and the view of the Øresund has, as it were, approached the Earth from space, and has now reached his goal: the Island of Hven, from where the astronomer Tycho Brahe explored the broad expanse of the universe and made pioneering discoveries. The plate shows Uraniborg, the most famous astronomical observatory of its time. It was built by Tycho Brahe, to whom the island was given as a fief by the Danish king in 1576, and who added a second observatory with underground observation rooms in 1584. Among other things we can see Uraniborg itself (B), the workshop and house of the craftsmen who made the astronomical instruments (C) and the position of the underground observatory (D). When royal support was withdrawn, Brahe left Hven in 1597 with all his instruments and moved to the estate of his friend Heinrich Rantzau. Brahe had not been liked by the farmers on the island, who resented him so much that they destroyed the castle of Uraniborg after his departure. Today the Brahe Museum stands here. The observatory has been excavated and restored. (Taschen)


Braun G. & Hogenberg F. and the Civitates Orbis Terrarum.

The Civitates Orbis Terrarum, or the "Braun & Hogenberg", is a six-volume town atlas and the greatest book of town views and plans ever published: 363 engravings, sometimes beautifully coloured. It was one of the best-selling works in the last quarter of the 16th century. Georg Braun wrote the text accompanying the plans and views on the verso. A large number of the plates were engraved after the original drawings of Joris Hoefnagel (1542-1600), who was a professional artist. The first volume was published in Latin in 1572, the sixth volume in 1617. Frans Hogenberg created the tables for volumes I through IV, and Simon van den Neuwel created those for volumes V and VI. Other contributors were cartographer Daniel Freese, and Heinrich Rantzau. Works by Jacob van Deventer, Sebastian Münster, and Johannes Stumpf were also used. Translations appeared in German and French.

Following the original publication of Volume 1 of the Civitates in 1572, seven further editions of 1575, 1577, 1582, 1588, 1593, 1599 and 1612 can be identified. Vol.2, first issued in 1575, was followed by further editions in 1597 and in 1612. The next volumes appeared in 1581, 1588, 1593, 1599 and 1606. The German translation of the first volume appeared from 1574 on and the French edition from 1575 on.

Several printers were involved: Theodor Graminaeus, Heinrich von Aich, Gottfried von Kempen, Johannis Sinniger, Bertram Buchholtz and Peter von Brachel, who all worked in Cologne.

Georg Braun (1541-1622)

Georg Braun was born in Cologne in 1541. After his studies in Cologne he entered the Jesuit Order as a novice. In 1561 he obtained his bachelor's degree and in 1562 his Magister Artium. Although he left the Jesuit Order, he studied theology, gaining a licentiate in theology.

Frans Hogenberg (1535-1590)

Frans Hogenberg was a Flemish and German painter, engraver, and mapmaker. He was born in Mechelen as the son of Nicolaas Hogenberg.

By the end of the 1560s Frans Hogenberg was employed upon Abraham Ortelius's Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, published in 1570; he is named as engraver of numerous maps. In 1568 he was bannend from Antwerp by the Duke of Alva and travelled to London, where he stayed a few years before emigrating to Cologne. There he immediately embarked on his two most important works, the Civitates published from 1572 and the Geschichtsblätter, which appeared in several series from 1569 until about 1587.

Thanks to such large scale projects as the Geschichtsblätter and the Civitates, Hogenberg's social circumstances improved with each passing year. He died as a wealthy man in Cologne in 1590.