Geschichtsblätter: 1570, Duke Alva proclaims the General Pardon

by Frans Hogenberg


Date:  16 July 1570

Dimensions (not including margins): 21 x 27,5 cm

Condition: Very good. Strong paper and wide margins. Centre fold as published.

Condition rating: A+

Verso: blanco

Text at bottom: in German

Item number:
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Hogenberg shows General Pardon proclaimed by Duke Alva on 16 July 1570

After the commotion over his introduction of the “tenth penny”, Don Fernando Álvarez de Toledo y Pimentel (better known as the third Duke of Alva) had to calm the situation down again.

Surrounded by halberds, he proclaimed a General Pardon for apostate Catholics on the steps of the Antwerp town hall. However, some population groups (leaders of the Iconoclasm, members of consistories, exiles) were excluded and 4 Pennies had to be paid for the Pardon.

Hogenberg mentions in his cynical caption that this only showed Alva’s tyranny as many were forced to flee. This Pardon was unsuccessful, so the new governor Don Luis de Zúñiga y Requeses pronounced a new (and equally unsuccessful) Pardon in Brussels on 6 June 1574.


Hogenberg and his Geschichtsblätter (news prints)

The publication of news prints was already in vogue in the 16th century before Hogenberg published his well-known Geschichtsblätter. In printing houses in Rome (Lafreri) and Venice (Gastaldi), the cartographers also published these such news prints. The preferred topics were then-current political or military images. Publishing news prints actually went hand in hand with the publication of maps.

Hogenbergs Geschichtsblätter are a collection of several hundred history papers that Frans Hogenberg and his son Abraham published between 1569 and 1637. The central theme is the Eighty Years’ War (1568 – 1648), but some views also show the French Religious Wars (1559 – 1573) and the English dynastic disputes. The Geschichtsblätter illustrate in an almost photographic way an act of war with a German caption at the bottom, sometimes in verse form, dating the fact. They provide both a visual and a narrative picture of the evolution of the war. The different engraving styles show that several engravers contributed to this work in the studio of the Hogenberg family. The Geschichtsblätter were sold loose-leaf and were popular.

Several editions of the Geschichtsblätter are known with varying numbers of pages and varying comments.