Comparison of Original Map with Five Historical Derivatives (under development)
For the past 140 years, the 16th-Century Scenic Plan of Lyon (c.1544-1550, above left) has been almost completely eclipsed by the excellent 19th-century "facsimilé" shown on the right (engraved between 1872-1876 - 326 years after the original was created!). Digital images of the facsimilé have frequently been used with insufficient mention of the fact that they are from a much-later duplication. A somewhat unfair example is an invaluable 1997 work - Richard Cooper's great introduction to The Entry of Henri II into Lyon: September 1548 by Maurice Scève. Cooper's decision to reproduce images taken from the 1876 facsimilé was likely a good choice for purposes of clarity.

Now the original map can be be viewed simultaneously alongside full digital compilations of the 1876 facsimilé and four other historical derivatives that preceded it in 1572, 1698, 1783 and 1847.
The 1872-76 copy is mostly faithful to the 1550 map as it existed in 1876 (after multiple restorations). However, there are significant artistic differences, particularly in the ornamental art (view the four corners of the map for examples of this). There are also various figures (boats, people, etc.) from the original that are not shown in the facsimilé. Thus while the facsimile is a valuable resource, it no longer serves as an effective surrogate now that technology makes the original map accessible (though the facsimilé is still an artifact of great value in its own right).

The most compelling reason to view the original map alongside the 1772-1876 facsimile is that the outside edges of the assembled map no longer exist and can only be guessed at based on derivative and contemporaneous sources (the original 25 sheets are preserved in the Municipal Archives of Lyon and were photographed and published in 1990).

There are visual clues that lead us to doubt the faithfulness of the 19th century restorations, and consequently that of the 1876 Facsimilé that includes them. For one example, at the top of the first (top-left) sheet of the 1550 Plan, traces remain of a letter (R?) that doesn't correspond to the letter A shown in the same area on the 1872-1876 facsimilé.
I will briefly summarize some of the "afterlife" of Le Plan Scénographique, which included restoration efforts in 1786, 1842 and 1876, as detailed in the Archives' 1990 publication Le Plan Scénographique de Lyon vers 1550. Today, using this comparative viewer, scholars can consider for themselves how accurately the various restoration efforts, as communicated through the 1872-1876 edges and historical derivatives, might reflect the 1550 map in its original state. Note that while the 1876 facsimilé matches the giant size of the original, all the other maps are considerably smaller. Scale is always the most difficult consideration when viewing digitizations of real world objects, and I am working on a visualization showing the comparative dimensions of the various maps.

Regardless, the current renlyon.org viewing tools effectively address a question posed by Gérard Bruyère almost 25 years ago:
On sait bien comment l'image de la tour Effel suffit à évoquer Paris ; Fourvière, Lyon ; tel monument, tel lieu. Il y a semblablement un usage métonymique du "plan scénographique" comme si Lyon, la ville, était toute entière dans son ancien plan. Sans doute, est-ce là le destin et même la raison d'être de maintes cartes, plans ou vues. Pourtant, le plan de Lyon au XVIe siècle, en totalité ou en détail, est plus que le signe de la ville, il symbolise encore son passé prestigieux (43), sa permanence historique, l'époque de sa plus grande prospérité économique, de son plus haut développement culturel, en un mot, il est l'expression de son génie particulier. Miroir ou idée de Lyon, tel qu'en lui-même l'"éternité" le change.

...Celui-ci appartient désormais à l'imaginaire des Lyonnais. Et l'on ne peut pas plus en contrôler l'interprétation que l'on ne saurait recenser, aujourd'hui, toutes ses reproductions. Nous faisions remarquer, plus haut, que la notion de fac-similé dépendait, en pratique, de la nature du document reproduit. Un autre facteur, généralement sous-estimé, intervient dans cette notion, celui de la technologie de reproduction utilisée. Quelle invention technique nous relèvera ? C'est demander aussi quelle technique de restauration et quelle herméneutique à trouver.
Pour ne pas conclure, il aura suffi de terminer sur cette question :
combien de temps s'exercera l'autorité de ce nouveau fac-similé?
- Andrew Taylor, 02/12/2016 [updated 08/20/2017]
 
Renaissance Lyon: Le Plan Scénographique c. 1550
Map Sources

Le Plan scénographique de Lyon vers 1550, Archives Municipales de Lyon, Lyon, 1990.

"Lugdunum." Beschreibung vnd Contrafactur der vornembster Stät der Welt [Civitates Orbis Terrarum]: 1574 (S. Online–Ressource). Braun, G., Hogenberg, F., & Novellanus, S. (1582). Cölln: Kempen. Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg.

Le plan scénographique de Lyon au 16e siècle [1876 Facsimilé]. Editions de Trévoux, 01600 Trévoux (1981). (Exemplaire No. 211).
This edition corresponds to Inv. N 1675, Musée Gadagne (More information). Lyon, 1876.

Carte de l'Ancienne Ville de Lyon. Tardieu, Nicolas Henri (1699) [pour Claude-François Ménestrier]. Source: gallica.bnf.fr / Bibliothèque nationale de France.

Plan scénographique de la ville de Lyon sous les règnes de François 1er et de Henri II. Moithey, Maurille-Antoine (1783). Source: gallica.bnf.fr / Bibliothèque nationale de France.
The source for the Moithey map's dating (1783)is the Archives Municipales de Lyon's Forma Urbis project from 1997.

Lyon au xvie siècle, d'après le plan de Menestrier. [Histoire de la ville de Lyon]. Monfalcon, Jean-Baptiste (1847). Source: gallica.bnf.fr / Bibliothèque nationale de France.

Creative Commons License
Renaissance Lyon: Le Plan Scenographique de Lyon c. 1544-1550 is a digital history project by Andrew Taylor licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
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Inspired by three projects of the Archives Municipales de Lyon, Lyon en 1550, Forma urbis and Lyon 1562, capitale protestante (as well as numerous other works). Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments - agrahamt[at]gmail.com.