This is an attractive and captivating ‘plastischer’ (3-D, or, raised relief) map of Prague and its environs. It was made by Anton Leo Hickmann (1834 – 1906), a professor and regional state school inspector based in Reichenberg (today Liberec, Czech Republic), who was dedicated to popularizing geography and statistics. The present lithographed map was placed upon an exactingly crafted mold, requiring great skill, so it is interesting that this was accomplished by a provincial printer in Northern Bohemia.
Prague is shown in the dead centre of the map, with the main part of the city, lying on the relatively flat eastern bank of the Moldau (Vltava) River, while the western part, across the Charles Bridge, rises upon steep hills, capped by Prague Castle. The major streets and blocks are all pictured, while the city is shown to still be enveloped in its old walls (in red). ‘Weissenburg’, can be seen a little way to the west of the city, the site of the famous Battle of White Mountain (1620), whereupon the Habsburg Emperor Ferdinand II defeated the Protestant Bohemian nobles, imposing his authoritarian rule and Catholic faith upon the country. Beyond, in the surrounding countryside, are numerous towns, villages, monasteries, castles, roads and named railway lines (in red).
A Note on Editions and Rarity
We gather that the first edition of the map was issued with the date of 1869. A second undated edition was published seemingly in 1871 (being the present issue), while a third edition is recorded as having been published in 1876.
The map is extremely rare, we can trace only three other examples of either of the editions held in libraries and are not aware of any sales records. We note examples of both the 1869 and 1871 editions held by the Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek (Vienna) and an example of the 1871 edition at the British Library.
Professor Anton Hickmann: Popular Geographer and Statistician of Bohemia
Anton Leo Hickmann (1834-1906) was a geographer and statistician who had a passion for popularizing his subjects in innovative ways. Born in Theresienstadt (today Terezín), Bohemia, he studied modern languages and economics at university in Prague before becoming the Secretary of the Chamber of Commerce in Eger (Cheb). He was then appointed a professor as the Gymnasium at Reichenberg (today Liberec, Czech Republic), a position he held for almost three decades. Hickmann concurrently served as the government school inspector for the local region, giving him a healthy stable income that could finance his publishing projects. Hickmann created a number of intriguing, educational publications, often of thematic nature. Titles included the an economic atlas of Bohemia, Industrie-Atlas des Königreiches Böhmen (1862–64); a book on heraldry, Wappentafeln und Landesfarben (1888); a statistical atlas of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Geographisch-statistischer Taschen-Atlas von Österreich-Ungarn (1895); a similar work on Germany, Geographisch-statistischer Taschen-Atlas des Deutschen Reichs (1897); and a map of the religions of Europe, Karte der Verbreitungsgebiete der Religionen in Europa (c. 1900); not to mention the present work.
References: Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek (Vienna): 1869 ed.: AC04355054 and 1871 ed.: Rel 12 KAR MAG; British Library: Maps R.M..66. / OCLC: 557073280. Allgemeines Deutsches Bücher-Lexikon, Band 3 (1878), p. 987; Ferdinand Grassauer, Landeskunden von Oesterreich-Ungarn (1875), p. 107; Registrande der Geographisch-Statistischen Abtheilung des Großen Generalstabes, Band 3 (1872), p. 97. Cf. Petermanns Mitteilungen, vol. 23 (1877), p. 238.