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Old antique world map by W. Blaeu.

Item number:25942
Category:Antique maps > world and polar regions
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Price: 14500 Euro ($16965 / £12905)
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Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis Geographica ac Hydrographica. - W. Blaeu, 1635.


Old, antique world map by W. Blaeu.

Date of the first edition: 1606 (First state)
Date of this map: 1635
Appeared in 1630 for the first time in an atlas.

Copper engraving, engraved by Josua Van den Ende.
Size: 41 x 54.5cm (15.9 x 21.1 inches)
Verso text: Latin
Condition: Original coloured, lower centrefold split reinforced.
Condition Rating: A
References: Shirley (World), 255 State 4; Schilder 4, 10.4 & Schilder 6, 1.4; Van der Krogt 2, 0001:2A; Baynton-Williams New Worlds, p.59.

From: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, W.& J. Blaeu, 1635. (Van der Krogt 2, 101)

While Blaeu was in the process of publishing his four-sheet wall map of the world on Mercator's projection, a world map in folio size using the same projection was issued by his publishing house. For many years, this map remained in atlases published by the Blaeu family, in spite of the increasing geographical knowledge then available (only the discovery of the Strait of Le Maire was added to later states). Apparently, purchasers preferred a decorative map of the world to a map that provided up-to-date geographical knowledge. Eventually Joan Blaeu, in his Atlas Maior (1662-64), replaced the world map made by his father with a new map.
The title in capitals runs along the upper edge within the map image. Because of the projection chosen, the areas north and south of the 50th degree of latitude are drawn in two hemispheres in the lower corners.
The map's dedication to the wealthy Amsterdam merchant and administrator Cornelis Pietersz Hooft (1547-1626) is now signed: Guilj. Blaeuw (in the first state, it was signed Gul. Iansonius 1606 = the old name of Willem Blaeu). The original 1606 state does not mention an engraver, but from the second state onward the name of Josua van den Ende appears on the map. It is probable that Van den Ende engraved only the geographic content, while someone else was responsible for the decoration.
The geographic content is identical to that of the 1606/07 wall map. Because of the smaller size of the folio map, fewer toponyms are given and the number of legends has also been reduced. The centre of North America is taken up by a large oval cartouche containing a Latin text, here in translation: 'America. First discovered in A.D. 1492 by Christopher Colombus in the name of the king of Castille and given the name by Amerigo Vespucci in 1499'. The following legend, here in translation, is inserted in the area to the east of Novaya Zemlya: 'Novaya Zemlya. Discovered in 1596 by Willem Barentszoon from Amsterdam in the name of the States General of the Netherlands'.

Blaeu's world map is framed on all sides by decorative borders. Along the top are allegorical representations of the sun, moon and the five known planets: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. On the left the four elements, and on the right the four seasons. Along the bottom are seven vignettes showing the seven wonders of the world.
The decorative borders of the world map were not derived from artists' designs specially ordered by the publisher. On the contrary, Blaeu had a compilation made from various series of prints which had already been published by famous Dutch artists at the end of the sixteenth century. A balanced composition and elegant ornementation make this world map one of the small masterpieces of the seventeenth century.

The first state (1606) bears the name Gulielmus Ianssonius. The second state has the signature of the engraver Josua Van den Ende. The third state is with the Strait of Le Maire added (1618) and the fourth state is with the name of the publisher changed to 'Blaeuw'.
The fourth state was included in Blaeu's 1630 Appendix and in all of the Blaeu family's atlases, except the Atlas maior.

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