1659 Joan Blaeu Large Antique Map of The Swiss Cantons of Zurich, Aargau & Basel

Cartographer : Joan Blaeu

This beautiful original copper plate engraved antique map of the Swiss Canton of Zurich with parts of Aargau & Basel Cantons was published by Joan Blaeu in the rare 1659 Spanish edition of Atlas major

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 Age of the United Netherlands.

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: - 24 1/2in x 20in (625mm x 510mm)
Plate size: - 19 1/2in x 15in (500mm x 385mm)
Margins: - Min 2in (50mm)

Margins: - Light age toning to margin edges
Plate area: - None
Verso: - None

By comparison with her larger neighbours, Germany and Italy, it may not be considered that Switzerland has made a major contribution to the history of cartography, but in the sixteenth century especially Swiss influence was by no means negligible. Certainly the first printed map of Switzerland was published in Martin Waldseemuller\'s edition of Ptolemy at Strasburg in 1513, but the manuscript map by Konrad Turst (1497) drawn to scale was a splendid achievement for its time and the researches of Vadianus at St Gallen University produced notable work; the Germanic influence in Basle, which became part of the Swiss Confederation in 1501, and the highly developed wood engraving skills there were important factors in European map publishing. The almost endless editions of Munster were published there from 1540 onwards for nearly a century and Zurich can claim to have published the first national atlas produced anywhere -that of Johann Stumpf in 1548-52.
In the second half of the sixteenth century many maps of the cantons in manuscript or woodcut appeared but the mountainous nature of the country produced its own mapping problems and imposed a need for large-scale suAbraham Orteliusbrveys as well as practical and effective methods of showing land surfaces in relief. Early in the seventeenth century Hans Gyger perfected new ways of doing this but although he published a wide range of very large-scale maps of the cantons and of Switzerland as a whole his techniques did not receive the acceptance they deserved. On the other hand his countrymen followed his precedent of compiling large-scale maps for which they have always been noted until the present day. (Ref:Koeman; Tooley)

Please note all items auctioned are genuine, we do not sell reproductions. A Certificate of Authenticity (COA) can be issued on request.