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Description:This beautiful, original, hand coloured copper-plate engraved antique map of eastern Canada, including Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Cape Breton Island, and Labrador, the only new North American map added by Blaeu to his greatest publication Atlas Major, was published in Volume 11 of the 1662 Latin 1st edition of that Atlas.As this map was only published over a 10 year period and the plates were destroyed in the disastrous 1672 fire, that wiped out the Blaeu publishing house, this map is extremely rare especially with original hand colour, such as this map. 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. Blaeu also used cartographical information from the Dutch East India Company (VOC) maps by Hessel Gerritsz, Johannes de Laet (1630), and Jodocus Hondius (1636). With such distinguished sources, this was one of the most comprehensive maps of the eastern part of New France then available – particularly with its detailed mapping of the lakes to the north of the Saint Lawrence estuary. The focus of the map, the rich cod fisheries of the Grand Banks, here shaded at center, is underscored by the addition of fish and fishermen to the baroque title cartouche in the upper right.
General Definitions:Paper thickness and quality: - Heavy and stablePaper color : - off whiteAge of map color: - OriginalColors used: - Yellow, green, blue, pinkGeneral color appearance: - AuthenticPaper size: - 24in x 20 1/2in (610mm x 520mm)Plate size: - 22 1/2in x 17 3/4in (575mm x 450mm)Margins: - Min 1in (25mm)
Imperfections:Margins: - Light age toningPlate area: - Light age toningVerso: - 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. Sleswicv. 2. Europa, liber 3-7: Suecia. Russia. Polonia. Regiones orientales ultra Germaniam circa Danubium. Graeciav. 3. Europa, liber 8: Germaniav. 4. Europa, liber 9-10: Belgica regiav. 5. Europa, liber 11: Angliav. 6. Europa, liber 12-13: Scotia. Hiberniav. 7. Europa, liber 14-15: Gallia. Helvetiav. 8. Europa, liber 16: Italiav. 9. Europa, liber 17: Hispania. Africav. 10. Asia v. 11. America.