Willem Blaeu (1571 - 1638)                                              Joan Blaeu 1596-1673

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At the beginning of the seventeenth century Amsterdam was becoming one of the wealthiest trading cities in Europe, the base of the Dutch East India Company and a center of banking and the diamond trade, its people noted for their intellectual skills and splendid craftsmanship.

At this propitious time in the history of the Northern Provinces, Willem Janszoon Blaeu, who was born at Alkmaar in 1571 and trained in astronomy and the sciences by Tycho Brahe, the celebrated Danish astronomer, founded a business in Amsterdam in 1599 as a globe and instrument maker. It was not long before the business expanded, publishing maps, topographical works and books of sea charts as well as constructing globes. His most notable early work was a map of Holland (1604), a fine World Map (1605-06) and Het Licht der Zeevaerdt (The Light of Navigation), a marine atlas, which went through many editions in different languages and under a variety of titles. At the same time Blaeu was planning a major atlas intended to include the most up-to-date maps of the whole of the known world but progress on so vast a project was slow and not until he bought between 30 and 40 plates of the Mercator Atlas from Jodocus Hondius II to add to his own collection was he able to publish, in 1630, a 60-map volume with the title Atlantis Appendix. It was another five years before the first two volumes of his planned world atlas, Atlas Novus or the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum were issued. About this time he was appointed Hydrographer to the East India Company.

In 1638 Blaeu died and the business passed into the hands of his sons, Joan and Cornelis, who continued and expanded their father's ambitious plans. After the death of Cornelis, Joan directed the work alone and the whole series of 6 volumes was eventually completed about 1655. As soon as it was finished he began the preparation of the even larger work, the Atlas Major, which reached publication in 1662 in II volumes (later editions in 9-12 volumes) and contained nearly 6oo double-page maps and 3,000 pages of text. This was, and indeed remains, the most magnificent work of its kind ever produced; perhaps its geographical content was not as up-to-date or as accurate as its author could have wished, but any deficiencies in that direction were more than compensated for by the fine engraving and colouring, the elaborate cartouches and pictorial and heraldic detail and especially the splendid calligraphy.

In 1672 a disastrous fire destroyed Blaeu's printing house in the Gravenstraat and a year afterwards Joan Blaeu died. The firm's surviving stocks of plates and maps were gradually dispersed, some of the plates being bought by F. de Wit and Schenk and Valck, before final closure in about 1695.
It ought to be mentioned here that there is often confusion between the elder Blaeu and his rival Jan J ansson (Johannes Janssonius). Up to about 1619 Blaeu often signed his works Guilielmus Janssonius or Willems Jans Zoon but after that time he seems to have decided on Guilielmus or G. Blaeu.

Willem & Joan Blaeu (3)

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1642 Joan Blaeu Antique Map New England & NE America, Virginia New York to Maine

1642 Joan Blaeu Antique Map New England & NE America, Virginia New York to Maine

Description:
This beautiful, original hand coloured copper-plate engraved antique map of New England & NE America, centering on New York and Manhattan stretching from Virginia to Maine, by Joan Blaeu was published in the 1642 edition of Atlas Novus

General Definitions:
Paper thickness and quality: - Heavy and stable
Paper color : - off white
Age of map color: - Original
Colors used: - Yellow, green, blue, pink
General color appearance: - Authentic
Paper size: - 21in x 16 1/2in (530mm x 420mm)
Plate size: - 19 1/2in x 15 1/2in (495mm x 395mm)
Margins: - Min 1/2in (12mm)

Imperfections:
Margins: - Light age toning, printers crease in left margin into border
Plate area: - None
Verso: - None

Background: 
This important map was one of the most attractive of the Americas published at the time. It is noted for the fact that its primary source is the first manuscript figurative map of Adriaen Block from 1614. Indeed it is the first full representation of it in print. It is one of the earliest to name Nieu Amsterdam. Block, a Dutch fur trader, explored the area between Cape Cod and Manhattan, examining the bays and rivers along the way. This helped to create an accurate picture of the longitudinal scale of the coastline. His manuscript map is the first document to delineate an insular Manhattan; it also provides the earliest appearance of Manhates and Niev Nederland.
It has been noted that the time difference between 1614, the date of the manuscript, and Blaeus map whose first appearance is in 1635, appears long for such an important advance. It would seem highly feasible that Blaeu, who published many separately issued maps, would have wanted to produce one like this sooner. However, evidence points to the fact that it could not have been made before 1630. The Stokes Collection in New York possesses an example of the map on thicker paper without text on the reverse which could well be a proof issue of some kind.
There are features on Blaeus map that differ from the Block chart. Some of these could be accounted for by the fact that the surviving figurative map is not the original, and that the copyist omitted some place names that are referred to in the text of de Laets work. Block drew on Champlains map of 1612 for the depiction of the lake named after him, but it is here called Lacus Irocoisiensis. … The lack of interrelation between the Dutch or English colonies and the French, led for some time to the eastward displacement of this lake when its true position would be north of the Hudson River.
Some nomenclature has its origins in Blaeus second Paskaert of c.1630, and others, such as Manatthans, in de Laet. The colony of Nieu Pleimonth is identified. This and other English names along that part of the coast are largely derived from Smith\\\'s New England, 1616. Cape Cod is here improved over the Block manuscript by being reconnected to the mainland, the narrow strait having been removed. The coastline between here and Narragansett Bay, which can be clearly recognized, is not so accurate. Adriaen Blocx Eylandt leads us to the Versche Rivier, or Connecticut River, which Block ascended as far as was possible. t Lange Eyland is named; however, it is incorrectly too far east, being applied to what is possibly Fishers Island. De Groote bay marks Long Island Sound. The Hudson River is still not named as such, but is littered with Dutch settlements, and the failed Fort Nassau is here depicted renamed as Fort Orange. He does, however, improve on the direction of its flow. Blaeu separates the sources of the Hudson and Delaware Rivers which had been causing some confusion. Nieu Amsterdam is correctly marked as a fort at the tip of an island separated on the east side by Hellegat, or the East River. The coastline south of Sandy Hook also shows signs of improvement.
The whole map is adorned by deer, foxes, bears, egrets, rabbits, cranes and turkeys. Beavers, polecats and otters appear on a printed map for the first time. The Mohawk Indian village top right is derived from the de Bry-White engravings.

$4,250.00 USD
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1662 Joan Blaeu Antique Map Eastern America Virginia Carolinas, Georgia, Florida

1662 Joan Blaeu Antique Map Eastern America Virginia Carolinas, Georgia, Florida

  • Title : Virginiae partis australis, et Floridae partis orientalis interjacentiumq regionum Nova Descripto.
  • Size: 23 1/2in x 20in (595mm x 510mm)
  • Condition: (A+) Fine Condition
  • Date : 1662
  • Ref #:  3001

Description:
This beautiful, original, hand coloured copper-plate engraved antique map of the East Coast of America, from Virginia, The Carolinas, Georgia & northern Florida was published in arguably the greatest atlas ever published, the 11th volume of Joan Blaeus 1662 edition of Atlas Major, or Great Atlas, Latin 1st edition.
This map was printed from a plate first produced by the Blaeus in 1638 and was published in Atlas Major for only 10 years, prior to the disastrous 1672 fire that wiped out the Blaeu publishing house. 
The original colouring is also extremely rare to find and this colouring is exceptional, along with heavy paper, a strong impression and original margins.

Cartographically this map forms a marked improvement on the Jodocus Hondius map of 1606, from which this was largely derived. It also amply illustrates the direction that engraving styles had moved, being more open and florid. The map depicts two nations interests, both marked by their own coat of arms. The French claim, being largely present day Georgia, rests on the abortive colonial attempts of the 1560s. Blaeu makes no advance here in geography, following Hondius to the letter.
The greatest improvement occurs in the northern half of the map north of Porto Royal. Whereas on the Hondius the coastline towards C. de Ste. Romano (present day Cape Fear) veered directly east, Blaeu more correctly takes it north-east, placing the cape closer to its true position of 34°. This span of coastline is approximately that of present day South Carolina\'s. This now present to us a more accurately proportioned Outer Banks Region, radically reduced in size but still slightly too far north. For these improvements Blaeu drew upon the extremeley rare DE EYLANDEN ..., by Hessel Gerritsz, c. 1631. The Outer Banks combine the placenames of Gerritsz and Hondius, often using two different ones for the same area such as C. de Trafalgar and C. ost Feare. This latter name was often applied to present day Cape Lookout before it was used for its present site to the south-west.
Chesapeake Bay was depicted as just a small bay on Hondius map of 1606 as John Smith was yet to explore these waters. The Gerritsz terminated at this point, and only two place names appeared. Blaeu draws largely on the Smith map for much of the nomenclature but introduces some English ones from an unknown source. The most important is Newport nesa, Newport News, founded in 1621 and apparently shown here for the first time on a printed map. Also new are Bermouth, Stortingen and Arglas. The two Indian figures from Hondius map form part of the cartouche on Blaeu\'s. The winged cherub to the left of the scale provides the only difference to the two known states.

General Definitions:
Paper thickness and quality: - Heavy and stable
Paper color : - off white
Age of map color: - Original
Colors used: - Yellow, green, blue, pink
General color appearance: - Authentic
Paper size: - 23 1/2in x 20in (595mm x 510mm)
Plate size: - 20in x 15in (510mm x 380mm)
Margins: - Min 1in (25mm)

Imperfections:
Margins: - Light age toning
Plate area: - Light age toning
Verso: - Light age toning

Background: 
Atlas Major or Great Atlas - During the early hours of the 23rd of February 1672, a fire broke out and engulfed a building on Gravenstraat, in the centre of Amsterdam. Such an event at the time was unremarkable, until it was recognised that the fire had brought to an end of one of the greatest publishing houses of all time. Dr Joan Blaeus family were responsible for printing and publishing some of the most important maps, atlases, religious and philosophical books, that are recognised even today, as remarkable. The fire was described in suitably vivid terms in the annual review publication, De Hollandtse Mercurius for 1672-1673
.............the disaster occurred at 3.30 on the morning of the 23rd of February because of the dryness of the timbers, or perhaps the carelessness of the apprentices; the magnificent establishment caught fire, and with it printing type, presses, plates and paper, were all burnt and sparks were sent flying as far as the Tol-heck (Toll Gate). One report put the financial cost of the damage at fl. 27, 000 for the buildings and some fl 355,000 for the plate-stock in the printing works and shop premises, to give total estimated losses of fl. 382, 000 (or about $25milUS in modern terms) together with some four or five thousand reams of paper, five or six thousand sheets, 88 thousand kg. printing type and so on...................
The fire precipitated the end of a publishing house established over 40 years before, and very probably contributed to the death of its proprietor, Alderman Dr Joan Blaeu, a year later, effectively ending the reign of one of the greatest producers of printed maps and atlases in publishing history. Only 10 years previously, in 1662, the house had reached its zenith with the publication of its greatest achievement, the Atlas Major or Great Atlas, containing 11 volumes with geographical detail reflecting many of the achievements of the Golden Ageof the United Netherlands. 

Joan Blaeus 11 volume Atlas Major is considered by many to be the greatest atlas ever published, both in its own time and even today. It excels in comprehensiveness, engraving, color, and overall production. The first Latin edition was published in 1662 and was subsequently published in French, Dutch, German, and Spanish.
Most of the surviving copies of the Atlas Major are bound in what might be termed as Standard bindings, in other words, uniform cream-coloured vellum with gilt tooling and lettering. Wealthy clients for the atlas could commission a binder to bind their sets in morocco or even velvet, embellished with their crests of other decorative devices. Such bindings were carried out by the celebrated binder Albert Magnus, who flourished in Amsterdam from the 1660s to 1680. As it appears that Joan Blaeu had no bindery on his premises, it is very likely that Magnus also bound copies in the standard binding. 
Colour was also a very important consideration. Although the atlas was published in black and white, and could be bought so (without hand colouring) many clients buying the atlas for display in their houses proffered their copies illuminated with rich hand colouring and sometime with gold high lightening. This of course was considerably more expensive, and there were in Amsterdam at the time artists who carried out such work. One of these was Dirk Janszoon van Santen who coloured and gilded maps and atlases to order, examples of which have survived and may be seen in institutional collections.
Blaeus atlas was the most expensive printed book in the 17th century. Blaeus catalogue of 1670, his Catalogue des Atlas, Theatre des Citez, quoted prices for the 12 volume French Text edition of the atlas at fl. 450 for a coloured set, and fl. 350 for a black and white set. This is the equivalent of paying around $70,000 today (although to purchase today at auction could be well over $250,000)

The original 11 volumes of Atlas Majorcontained the following contents: 
v 1. Arctica --Europa, liber 1-2:. Norvegia. Dania. Sleswic
v. 2. Europa, liber 3-7: Suecia. Russia. Polonia. Regiones orientales ultra Germaniam circa Danubium. Graecia
v. 3. Europa, liber 8: Germania
v. 4. Europa, liber 9-10: Belgica regia
v. 5. Europa, liber 11: Anglia
v. 6. Europa, liber 12-13: Scotia. Hibernia
v. 7. Europa, liber 14-15: Gallia. Helvetia
v. 8. Europa, liber 16: Italia
v. 9. Europa, liber 17: Hispania. Africa
v. 10. Asia 
v. 11. America.

$2,250.00 USD
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1662 Joan Blaeu Complete Set of 9 Antique Maps of North America from Atlas Major, 1st Edition

1662 Joan Blaeu Complete Set of 9 Antique Maps of North America from Atlas Major, 1st Edition

  • Titles: 
    1. Extrema Americae....Terra Nova Francia;
    2. Nova Belgica Et Anglia Nova;
    3. Nova Virginiae Tabula;
    4. Virginiae partis australis, et Floridae;
    5. Nova Hispania;
    6. Yucatan...Guatimala;
    7. Insulae Americanae;
    8. Canibales Insulae;
    9. Mappa Aestivarum Insularum Alias Barmudas
    Sizes: 24in x 20 1/2in (610mm x 520mm)
  • Condition: (A+) Fine Condition
  • Date: 1662
  • Ref #:  BlaeuNA 1662

Description:
This is a unique opportunity to acquire a complete set of 9 maps of North America published by Joan Blaeus in the monumental & rare 1st 1662 Latin edition of Atlas Major. The maps cover the geographical detail of Canada, North America, Mexico, The Caribbean & Central America. Please see the background section below for details of each map. All maps have wide original margins & colour on strong sturdy paper.
Joan Blaeus 11 volumes of Atlas Major, is considered by many to be the greatest atlas set ever published. It excels in comprehensiveness, engraving, color, and overall production. The first edition was published in Latin in 1662 and was subsequently published in French, Dutch, German, and Spanish over the next 10 years.
On the 23rd of February 1672, a fire broke out in central Amsterdam, that ended the reign of one of the greatest & most prolific publishers of printed maps and atlases in publishing history. The Blaeu family had reached its zenith 10 years previously, with the publication of its greatest achievement, the Atlas Major or Great Atlas, consisting of 11 volumes, with geographical detail reflecting many of the achievements of the Golden Age of the United Netherlands. Blaeus Atlas Major were the most expensive books printed in the 17th century.

General Definitions:
Paper thickness and quality: - Heavy and stable
Paper color : - off white
Age of map color: - Original
Colors used: - Blue, pink, red, green, yellow
General color appearance: - Authentic
Paper size: - 24in x 20 1/2in (610mm x 520mm)
Plate size: - Various, pls see below
Margins: - Min 1in (25mm) min

Imperfections:
Margins: - Pls see below
Plate area: - Pls see below
Verso: - Pls see below

Background:
1. Extrema Americae ( Eastern Canada) - Rare only published in Atlas Major. Derived mainly from the Samuel de Champlain Nouvelle France map of 1632, this map reflects the growing financial importance of the waters of New France to Europe.
Plate: 22 1/2in x 17 3/4in.
Condition: Age toning, text show-through & browning to image.

2. Nova Belgica Et Anglia Nova (New England) - NE America, centering on New York and Manhattan from Virginia to the St Lawrence River. This map is noted for the fact that its primary source is the first manuscript figurative map of Adriaen Block from 1614. Indeed it is the first full representation of it in print. It is one of the earliest to name Nieu Amsterdam. Block, a Dutch fur trader, explored the area between Cape Cod and Manhattan, examining the bays and rivers along the way.
Plate: 19 1/2in x 15 1/2in
Condition: Age toning, text show-through & browning to image.

3. Nova Virginiae Tabula (John Smiths Virginia & Chesapeake Bay) This map was printed from a plate engraved by Dirk Grijp from a previous plates by Henricus Hondius.
Plate: 19in x 15in
Condition: Light age toning

4. Virginiae partis australis, et Floridae Virginia, the Carolinas & Georgia.
Plate: 20in x 15in
Condition: Light age toning

5. Nova Hispania et Nova Galicia Western Mexico
Plate: 19 1/2in x 15 1/2in
Condition: Light age toning

6. Yucatan...Guatimala (Yucatan, Central America) Rare only published in Atlas Major.
Plate: 20 1/2in x 16 1/2in
Condition: Light age toning

7. Insulae Americana (GOM, Caribbean)
Plate: 20 1/2in x 15in
Condition: Light age toning

8. Canibales Insulae (Lesser Antilles Islands) Rare, printed only in Atlas Major
Plate: 21in x 16 1/2in
Condition: Age toning

9. Mappa Aestivarum Insularum Alias Barmudas Dictarum Bermuda. Like all 17th century maps of Bermuda this map is based ultimately on the survey made by John Norwood, of the Bermuda Company, in 1618 in the form as published by the English map-maker John Speed in 1627.
Plate: 21in x 16in
Condition: Light age toning

$24,999.00 USD
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