Cambridge – Cantebrigia, Opulentissimi Angliae Regni…

by Georg Braun and Frans Hogenberg

A university town frozen in history


Date of first edition: 1575

Date of this edition: 1575

Dimensions (not including margins): 33,5 x 45 cm

Dimensions (including margins): 41 x 53 cm

Condition: good. Sharp copper engraving printed on paper. Superb original colouring. Wide margins. Slight professional repair in margin of top centre fold. Wrinkles in margins.

Condition rating: A/B

Map reference: Koeman B&H6 (21); Van der Krogt 4,767; Fauser 2285; Taschen, Br. Hog., 450; Van der Krogt 4, 767

From: Civitatis Urbis Terrarum (II: De Praecipuis, totius universi urbibus, liber secundus), first published 1575, this edition 1575-1612; Van der Krogt 41:1-3

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British Isles
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Cambridge commented by Braun (on verso)

“Up to the present day Cambridge has 19 student houses, in addition to which 14 colleges have been built with such grandeur and magnificence that you might think they were royal palaces and not accomodation for students. In short, although I have travelled in many countries and seen many cities, I must admit that I have hardly ever seen anything comparable to this town and these schools, for everything is in such perfect order that nothing better could be imagined.”

Taschen on Cambridge

The engraving shows Cambridge from a bird’s-eye perspective. In 1209 professors and students from Oxford founded the University of Cambridge, and in 1284 Hugh de Balsham, bishop of Ely, founded the first college, Peterhouse, which is visible on the far right of the engraving. Near the River Cam is one of the best known colleges in the city. King’s College, founded by King Henry VI in 1441. King’s College Chapel, completed in 1515, is an important example of Gothic architecture and one of the city’s chief landmarks. In the lower lefthand corner is the castle, seen from a low perspective. It was built by the Normans in 1068, two years after the coronation of William I as king of England. It was demolished in the 19th century to provide building materials for new colleges. (Taschen)

The view itself names Trinity College, Kinge’s College, Jesus College, Christ’s College, Bennett College, Queen’s College, St. John’s College, Penbroke Hall, Saint Giles, Magealen College, St. Pauls, St. Clemens, St. Johns, Bridge Wardt, Bridge Street, and many other landmarks.


Georg Braun mentions that the city houses 19 student homes and 14 colleges. The university was founded in 1209 and its first college built in 1284: the small Peterhouse College at the far right in the middle. Closer to the River Cam, the majestic King’s College Chapel from 1515 stands out, (already founded by king Henry VI in 1441). To its left one discovers the squared Trinity College, the largest of all traditional colleges in Cambridge, founded in 1350.

Bottom left stood for a long time a castle, founded by the Norman King William I. Unfortunately; it was broken down in 1842 with just a hill remaining as remnant.

The university claims to honor the most Nobel Prize winners of all universities under their ex-students. Certainly, the list of prominent and honorable Alumni is astonishing and endless. To name a few: Isaac Newton, Francis Bacon, Charles Darwin and the Prime Ministers Pitt Jr., Baldwin and Balfour.

Sports have always been an important issue at this university. For example, Harold Abrahams (student of Gonville and Caius College from 1920 to 1924) won the 100 meters at the Olympic Games to Paris 1924. Please see in this respect the fantastic movie “Chariots of fire” (released 1981) On the 2008 Olympics not less than 6 (old) students of this university won a medal.





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