320 x 450 mm., early wash colour, with some centrefold splitting repaired, light folding near centrefold, small tear in right margin repaired not affecting the image, otherwise in good condition.
This fine early birds-eye view of Nonsuch Palace is from the ‘Civitates Orbis Terrarum’ which was compiled by George Braun (1541-1622) the Canon of Cologne Cathedral. Braun produced a total of over 500 city views and maps published in six parts between 1572 and 1617 of which just 10 were English. Most of the engraving was the work of Simon Novellanus and Frans Hogenberg (1535-1590), many after drawings by George Hoefnagel although this one is unidentified. It was first published in the rare fifth volume, first issued in Latin in 1598, the only edition in this language. This is one of the magnificent Palaces built by Henry VIII which has been lost to history, it is viewed from the south. George Braun describes it well on the verso “The royal palace in England Nonsuch, ten miles away from London, was magnificently built by Henry VIII … The construction of this complex is so astonishing that it deserves its name Nonsuch, i.e. “none the like” … Many excellent craftsmen, master builders, stonecutters and sculptors, Italians, French, Dutch and English, were employed here at the King’s expense. In their decoration of the palace, which is adorned inside and out with handsome sculptures, these craftsmen have created a particular work of art that not just equals the antiquities of Rome, but in part even surpasses them.” Work on it began in 1538, the palace played an important role in introducing Renaissance architecture to England. It was built in Surrey as might be expected close to one of his favourite hunting grounds. The image includes a hunting scene in the distance. The palace was the favourite of Elizabeth I and she is seen in the foreground in a splendid carriage accompanied by a large retinue. Charles II gave Nonsuch to his mistress Barbara Palmer in 1670 and in 1682, with his permission, she had it demolished and sold off the building materials in order to settle her gambling debts. The illustration below displays costumed figures from the English nobility and peasantry. A magnificent and rare example of Braun and Hogenberg’s work. Fauser, A. 5425; Koeman II B & H 5 no. 1; Taschen reproduction.