|Method||Copper engraved with hand colour|
|Artist||Blaeu, Willem Janszoon|
|Published||Evert Sÿmonsz. Hamersveldt sculp. Amstelodami Guiljelmus Blaeuw excudit [c.1640]|
|Dimensions||380 x 500 mm|
A large and decorative map of Rhaetia, a historic region roughly covering modern day eastern Switzerland with parts of Trentino, Lombardy, and the Tyrol, engraved by Evert van Hamersvelt after a plan by Philipp Cluver for the Blaeu Atlas Novus. The borders of Rhaetia and its neighbours are outlined in hand colour, and principal cities and towns are picked out in red. Davos and San Moritz, today the region's most famous locations, are mapped, but not picked out in red. The Alpine topography of the region is shown to full effect, with almost the entire plate covered in mountains. The title cartouche is flanked by four figures: St Lucius of Chur (often conflated with Lucius of Britain), an ancient Rhaetian Celt, and two River Gods representing the Rhine and the Inn. The other three cartouches contain a dedication to one Adrian Pauw, a scale in Rhaetic and Italic miles, and a key to symbols used on the map.
The Blaeu family were one of the most famous publishers of maps, globes and atlases during the seventeenth-century. Cartographers, globe makers and booksellers, the Blaeu business flourished in Amsterdam for over 40 years, until a fire destroyed their premises in 1672. They lost all of their plates, prints and stock, which effectively ruined the firm.
Willem Janzoon Blaeu (1571-1638) founded the family business in 1596. It initially functioned as a globe and instrument makers, but soon expanded into maps, topography and sea charts. The acquisition of thirty-eight copper plates from the estate of Jodocus Hondius in 162 together with twenty-two of his own maps enabled Blaeu to produce his first atlas, the 'Atlas Appendix' in 1630. The Atlas Novus was Willems great work; a major work which intended to include the most up-to-date maps of the entire world. He issued the first two volumes in 1635, but died in 1638 before the atlas was completed. The running of the business was passed on to his sons Johannes (c.1596-1673) and Cornelius, in addition to the role of the official cartographer of the East India Company. After the death of Cornelius in 1644, Johannes continued the business alone and established his own reputation as a great mapmaker. Johannes completed his father's grand project, culminating in 1658 in the production of the famous 'Atlas Major', regarded as one of the greatest achievements in the history of cartography. The county maps of England and Wales formed volume four of Blaeu's great atlas, this volume being first published in 1645 and re-issued without any alterations in 1662 as the fifth volume instead of the fourth.
Evert Symonsz. van Hamersvelt (1591-1653) was a Dutch engraver based in Amsterdam. A prolific map engraver, he produced numerous cartographic plates for Jodocus Hondius, Jan Jansson, and Johan Blaeu, most notably for later editions of the Mercator-Hondius Atlas and for Jansson's Atlas Novus.
Philipp Cluver (1580-1622) was born in Danzig and after studying at Leyden and Oxford, he became interested in modern and historical geography. His subsequent publications made a wide and influential contribution to knowledge of the subject. Philip Cluver's "Introductonius" was a popular geography book, first published in 1624 without maps. There were many editions throughout the 17th and 18th centuries with maps from several sets of plates.
Condition: Central vertical fold, as issued. Repaired tear and creasing to bottom of central fold. Latin text on verso.