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Cartographica Helvetica


Johanna Strübin Rindisbacher:

Survey plans by Joseph Plepp (1595–1642), Master of Works, painter, and map-maker of Berne

Cartographica Helvetica 12 (1995) 3–12


Until now, the surveyor Joseph Plepp (1595–1642) was known only for having drawn the plan and pictoral view of Lenzburg and for his painting of the city of Berne and its surroundings. The author was able to trace several more plans and maps which were surveyed and drawn by Plepp. They are proof of his activities in the service of the Bernese government and of his capabilities as the best surveyor and most talented map designer of his time. Of most of the towns he surveyed, he also prepared sketches, which in turn were engraved by the famous Matthäus Merian in his Topographia Helvetiae, Rhaetiae, et Valesiae.

One especially interesting cartographic oeuvre is a plan of the city of Berne with its fortification project and the adjoining Bremgarten forest (1620 to 1623). Sketched survey points, measured baselines and traces of numerous corrections show that several draftsmen had been working on it. It is for certain that this plan was used as a base for the above-mentioned painting (1623) as well as for the pictorial view of the city designed by Plepp and engraved by Merian (1642).

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