|Method||Copper engraved with hand colour|
|Artist||Blaeu, Willem Janszoon|
|Published||Cautum est Illustr. DD. Ordinum Hollandiae et Westfrisiae privilegio ne quis Tabulas istas quatuor Orbis terrae partium citra voluntatem Auctoris imitetur, sub poena in Diplomate expressa. [Amsterdam, 1630]|
|Dimensions||405 x 545 mm|
A fine example of one of Blaeu's famous carte-a-figures maps, the current map depicting the continent of Europe. Blaeu's carte-e-figures maps of the world and the four continents are some of his most desirable. Reduced versions of the set of five wall maps he published in 1608, each example features a border of vignettes of principal cities, as well as depictions of pairs of figures in the national dress of the kingdoms and races of each continent. This particular example lacks verso texts, suggesting that it was either separately published during the 1620s, or, like the complete atlas held by Stamford in the Rumsey collection, was published in the first printing of Blaeu's Atlantis Appendix in 1630.
In the current example, the continent of Europe is shown, with adjoining sections of Africa and Asia. The borders of the various empires and nations of Europe are outlined in hand colour, and Rome, London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and the Russian city of Lampas on the White Sea are picked out in red. In the northernmost reaches of Russia, a trio of bears are depicted at play, while in the deserts of North Africa, a pair of lions rush at each other. The Mediterranean and Atlantic Ocean feature numerous sailing ships and sea monsters, the most notable of which is a large triton astride a dolphin, crowned and holding a trident aloft off the coast of Portugal. At the top left corner, the title is enclosed in a baroque mantled cartouche adorned with florals and the winged heads of cherubs. The highly decorative borders feature vignettes of Amsterdam, Praga (Prague), Constantinopolis (Istanbul), Venetia (Venice), Roma (Rome), Paris, London, Toledo, and Lisboa (Lisbon), while pairs of figures represent the costumes of the English, French, Belgians, Castilian Spanish, Venetians, Germans, Hungarians, Bohemians, Polish, and Ottoman Greeks.
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 Blaeu founded the business in 1596. It initially functioned as a globe and instrument makers, but soon expanded into maps, topography and sea charts. 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 and Cornelius, in addition to the role of the official cartographer of the East India Company. After the death of Cornelis in 1644, Johannes continued the business alone and established his own reputation as a great mapmaker. Johannes completed his father's grand project in 1655 with the sixth and final volume of the Atlas Novus. He also produced the Tooneel der Steden van der Vereenighde Nederlanden in 1649-1653, as well as a similar set of Italian town plans which were published in 1663.
Condition: Heavily sized.