([Frankfurt am Main]: Matthaeus Merian, 1644 [but ca. 1660]). 311 x 210 mm. (12 1/4 x 8 1/4"). 38, , 39-84 pp.,  leaves. FIRST EDITION.
Contemporary stiff vellum, holes for ties (now missing). With engraved title page, TWO FOLDING MAPS, AND 52 PLATES (40 double-page, mounted on stubs) SHOWING 91 VIEWS. Front free endpaper with early ink owner's signature; occasional early ink marginalia. Wüthrich IV,108, no. 19; Brunet V, 1529-30; Graesse VI, 509. Vellum somewhat soiled, but the binding entirely sound and very satisfactory. Not infrequent but always faint browning to margins, a hint of soiling or foxing here and there, other minor defects, but still an excellent copy internally, generally clean, rather fresh, and with strong impressions of the plates.
Written, like a number of Merian books, by the German school official and miscellaneous author Zeiller (1589-1661), this beautifully illustrated publication is part of the splendid and justly celebrated "Topographia" series of books initiated by Merian (1593-1650) and continued by his heirs to a grand total of some 30 folio volumes, issued between 1642-88. The profusely illustrated works are of primary importance for the knowledge of Central European topography of the baroque era, and it is of great interest because of the very considerable artistic value of its engravings. Graesse notes that volumes (like the present one) covering Germany are especially valued for the accuracy of the illustrations, representing the country very much as it was at the time the books were produced. The present volume covers Bavaria, one of the loveliest parts of Germany. According to Wüthrich, Merian the Elder engraved most of the plates here himself, including some of the most beautiful in the series: "the Vogelschau and the Steinerne Brücke of Regensburg, Neuburg on the Danube, Passau, Landshut, and the market square at Munich"--the latter still recognizable to the modern tourist. The title page bears the date of 1644, though the actual publication date was at least 10 years later. Ours is the first printing of the work, without the appendix that would be added to a later, 132-page edition (still with title page dated 1644). The plates here are executed with considerable skill and charm, with the artist including details of costume and touches of daily life whenever scale permits. Because the Merian topographical works are illustrated books that would have invited avid use, they are usually found with serious defects; the present well-preserved copy is an exception. (ST13647)
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PJP Catalog: SE18BF.056