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Antique map by Braun and Hogenberg of the Island of Hven

Item number:17744
Category:Antique maps > europe > northern europe
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Topographia Insulae Huenae in Celebri Porthmo Regni Daniae, quem vulgo Oersunt uocant - Braun & Hogenberg, 1590.


Antique map by Braun and Hogenberg of the Island of Hven, where Tycho Brahe had his observatory, Uraniborg.
Two insets show the elevation and groundplan 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 (on verso): "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 When royal support was withdrawn, Brahe left Hven in 1597 with all his instruments and moved to the estate of his friend Heinrich Rantzau.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)

Date of the first edition: 1588
Date of this map: 1590

Copper engraving
Size: 34 x 48cm (13.3 x 18.7 inches)
Verso text: German
Condition: Excellent, old coloured.
Condition Rating: A
References: Van der Krogt 4, 4987; Taschen, Braun and Hogenberg, p.303.

From: Contrafactur und Beschreibung von den vornembsten Stetten der Welt. Liber quartus Köln, Bertram Büchholtz, 1590. (Van der Krogt 4, 41:2.1)

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