|Braun and Hogenberg's Civitates Orbis Terrarum is famed as the
first published collection of plans and views of cities (mostly European
but with a small number of African, Asia and American subjects). Published
between 1572 and 1617, it eventually comprised six volumes, containing
362 map-sheets. As many of the sheets contained two or more plans
or views the work is extremely comprehensive.
On a small number of the plates the cartographic editor, Frans Hogenberg,
introduced more light-hearted subjects.
This image, found on the sheet depicting Poitiers, published in volume
V (1598), was drawn by Joris Hoefnagel, the most important artist-contributors
to the 'Civitates', who had a roving commission to travel round Europe
drawing the cities and towns for inclusion in the book. The image
is signed 'Depinxit Georgius Houfnaglius, Anno MDLXVI'
The 'Pierre Leuee' was a large slab of rock, balanced on four stone
legs, about half a mile outside Poitiers. By the time of Hoefnagel,
it had become a popular tourist attraction, with it being customary for
visitors to carve their name on the rock, as shown in the engraving.
Indeed, before Hoefnagel sketched the rock, he added his name, visible
on the front left hand edge. However, closer inspection of the rocks
also reveals five other famous names from the world of cartography.