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The greatest Swedish topographical work, with 354 engraved plates

The greatest Swedish topographical work, with 354 engraved plates.
The greatest Swedish topographical work, with 354 engraved plates.
The greatest Swedish topographical work, with 354 engraved plates.
The greatest Swedish topographical work, with 354 engraved plates.
The greatest Swedish topographical work, with 354 engraved plates.
The greatest Swedish topographical work, with 354 engraved plates.
The greatest Swedish topographical work, with 354 engraved plates.

Erik Dahlbergh:

Suecia antiqua et hodierna. 1-3.

[Stockholm c. 1667-1716.] Oblong folio. (31 x 40 cms.) Complete with 354 engraved plates (but without the later extra plate ”Templum Ulricae Eleonorae”, 1728). Many plates folding or printed from more than one copper plate. Printed index bound at end, 12 pp. (of 14, lacking final leaf).

Three parts bound together in 18th-century full calf, well preserved with just some slight surface wear. Spine gilt in compartments, covers with outer double fillet in blind. Collector’s stamp of G. Usslaub (b. 1854, active in Marseille) and an ownership inscription dated 1907.

Front flyleaf somewhat worn, creased, and torn in gutter; final index leaves creased as well. First plate of Stockholm palace with small image loss in lower outer corner, view of Uppsala with repairs in lower margin, Uppsala Cathedral with a few small stains in image, Rosersberg with a couple of minor repairs verso, Sköldnora (Schellnora) with minimal and insignificant corner loss, the plate ”Sandmare versus septentrionem” present twice. A better copy than most, despite slight occasional marginal staining and darkening of several plates.

Erik Dahlbergh’s (1625­1703) inspiration for this magnum opus was the ”Theatrum Europaeum”. His privilege is dated 1661, engraving began in 1667 and continued for decades, ending only after Dahlbergh’s death in about 1715. The plates depict Sweden’s castles, cities and monuments, and a large number of mostly foreign engravers were employed: Nicolas and Adam Perelle, Jean Marot, Jean Le Pautre, F. Campion, Dionysius Padt Brugge, Willem Swidde, Erik Reitz, Martin Mytens, Johannes Van den Aveelen and Samuel von Blesendorf. The work was never actually published, but used for important gifts of the state. Sets were also sold from time to time at auction. The copper plates are still preserved, and impressions of decreasing quality have been pulled well into the 20h century. A printed text to accompany the plates was planned and begun a few times, but never completed.

Sten G. Lindberg, Swedish Books, 37. Collijn, 1600-talet, col. 197. A monograph by Börje Magnusson and Jonas Nordin about the illustrations was published in 2015 (in Swedish), ”Drömmen om storkmakten. Erik Dahlberghs Sverige”. Dahlbergh’s drawings for the work are in the Royal Library, Stockholm, and were published in four volumes in 1963-70.

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