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Leo Belgicus by Hessel Gerritsz, published by Cornelis Janszoon. 1611

The scarce third state of the LEO BELGICUS  - lion passant facing left,  by Hessel Gerritz, published by Cornelis Janszoon.

There is no known exemplar of the first state, one of the second and two of the third.

There are two types of this Leo Belgicus: the "lion rampant facing right" engraved by Hendrik Floris van Langren; and the "lion passant facing left", which was introduced by the engraver Hessel Gerritsz, who masterfully engraved it in copper. The publication history of the latter is complicated, however, and was only unravelled in the course of Van der Heijden's research. What complicates the story is that Hessel Gerritz engraved two almost identical copperplates in the same period, subsequently published by a series of publishing houses in Amsterdam. Our copy is the third state of the rare first plate.

Translation of bottom cartouche text: "The Leo Belgicus as a personification of the Netherlands. My fame of Trojan courage and strength and my glory as another Mars are known worldwide. But far more happy would I be than many a king if the gods would grant me everlasting peace".

The Netherlands, depicted in the form of a lion, originated with the Austrian Michael von Aitzing (c. 1530-98), who inserted in his book De Leone Belgico (1583) a Leo Belgicus map engraved by Frans Hogenberg. In the preface of this work, von Aitzing explains why he chose this particular title and inserted the lion map. He explains that Caesar mentioned in his Commentaries that the "Belgae" were the strongest tribes. He, therefore, decided - partly because of the religious conflicts in the war against Spain - to introduce the Netherlands in the shape of a lion.


Hessel Gerritsz. (1580/81 – 1632)

Hessel Gerritsz. was one of the most influential and innovative map makers of the seventeenth century. He was born in Assum in North Holland and went to school in Alkmaar. He must have known Willem Jansz. (= Willem Blaeu) who stayed in Alkmaar for several years. Later he moved to Amsterdam for his further education.
After the closing of the Scheldt River, Amsterdam’s competitor was cut off, so that Amsterdam was able to take over the function of world trade centre. Flourishing Amsterdam offered plenty of work and exercised a great attraction for the craftsmen from the Southern Netherlands. The two dominating publishers in the cartographical field were Cornelis Claesz. and Jodocus Hondius both from the Southern Netherlands. Hessel Gerritsz. was trained in the graphic trade by David Vingboons, a painter and artist who also came from the Southern Netherlands.
After his apprenticeship with David Vingboons, Hessel Gerritsz. continued his schooling in the publishing house of Willem Jansz. (Blaeu). There he was able to perfect his etching style and was given the mathematical skills which would be so useful to him later, and he learnt the trade of mapmaking. Together with the engraver Josua van den Ende he was responsible for the engraving of the superb wall map of the Seventeen Provinces (1608). Van den Ende engraved the map image while Hessel Gerritsz. took care of the decorative borders and the decorations on the main map.
During his activities for Willem Jansz. Hessel Gerritsz. not only perfected his etching and engraving style but received the geographical and mathematical education which would stand him in good stead in later years. He could wish for no better cartographical school. Blaeu’s workshop was a sort of repository where geographical information from all parts of the world came together.
Hessel Gerritsz. married in 1607 to Geertje Gijsbertdr. One of his children, Gerrit, born in 1609, was to follow in his father’s footsteps. Shortly after his marriage, he established himself as an independent engraver, mapmaker and printer.
Hessel Gerritsz. regularly worked with Claes Jansz. Visscher as well. They co-operated for a long time.
His artistic talent comes to the fore in his map of the Leo Belgicus, depicting the Seventeen Provinces in the shape of a lion. This was seen as a symbol of the courage and persistence of the Dutch provinces in their resistance against Spanish tyranny.
In the years 1612-13 Hessel Gerritsz. was intensively busy with publications about Russia. In 1612, the influential booklet Beschryvinghe vander Samoyeden Landt appeared by him. The two chapters about Siberia were provided by Isaac Massa, who had lived in Moscow for nine years. With the aid of original Russian material Gerrritsz. was able to produce a series of three maps in folio format: a map of Russia and town plans of Moscow and the Kremlin. He also made a new important wall map of Lithuania and engraved it on four plates for Willem Blaeu. In the meantime, he also made a wall map and a folio map of Spain.
Next to these works undertaken on his initiative, Hessel Gerritsz. also accepted engraving and publishing tasks for third parties.
In 1617, Hessel Gerritsz. published a large wall map of Italy in six sheets. He gave his wall map an extra cachet by extending the map image with town views and costumed figures. The map was copied shortly after publication by Willem Blaeu. To protect himself against such plagiarism in the future, he requested a patent from the States-General. In January 1618, they granted him a general license in which amongst other things it was forbidden in any way to reproduce, copy or distribute his maps, both written or printed.
Hessel Gerritsz. was so highly regarded in 1617, that he received such an extraordinary privilege. He was appointed as instructor in geography for the Councillors of the Admiralty at Amsterdam and as mapmaker for the Chamber Amsterdam of the VOC. With both appointments, his old employer Willem Blaeu was passed over. In his function of mapmaker of the VOC, he was able to improve and expand the charts for the navigation to and from the Indies. The chart maker, of course, did not draw the charts needed for the VOC ships himself. He manufactured specific prototypes, the so-called leggers, (master charts) which served as models for copying work by his assistants in his house.

At the beginning of September 1632, Hessel Gerritsz. died at the age of 52. He must be considered one of the most comprehensive map makers of his time. “He was multi-disciplined in his method of working, integrating graphical technique and artistic expression in his scientific approach. Because of his mathematical talent, he was able to solve nautical problems and make proposals about them. His exceptional network – the interviews with pilots from the diverse companies, as well as his correspondence with persons at home and abroad – supplied him with a huge amount of geographical and nautical information that he used most efficiently. His good contacts with the families of the great merchants and ship owners and the representatives of the influential regents opened doors for him. He was, without doubt, the most informed person in geographical matters in Amsterdam of his time.” (Schilder)


Cornelis Janszoon  (? - ± 1662)

Little is known about Cornelis Janszoon. Obviously, he was not related to the well-known Janssen-Janssonius family.

In a notary act of 27th April 1643, it says that the brothers Gerrit and Cornelis Jansz were book dealers. In 1662 one Cornelis Jansz. (the same?) published a medical book, Genees- en Heelkunst. 

In 1611 he published a Leo Belgicus - the lion passant facing left - first published by Hessel Gerritsz.

 

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LEO BELGICUS.

price on request

Item Number:  28658
Category:  Antique maps > Curiosities
References: Schilder 7 - p. 451-452 #15.15 (First plate - Sate 3); Van der Heijden (Leo Belg) - 15.3

Old, antique map showing the Leo Belgicus by Hessel Gerritz, published by Cornelis Janszoon.

Title: LEO BELGICUS
Gedruckt T' Amsterdam, bij Cornelis Ianszoon bijde Beurs, inde Zeylende Ysschuyt, Anno 1611.

With a dedication to the town government of Amsterdam: "Ampliss. ac Prudentiss. D. D. Praetori, Consulibus Totique Senatui Reip. Amsterodamensis Hunc Leonem Belgicum dedicat Cornelius Ianssenius'.


Date of the first edition: Before 1609 - No copy known.
Date of the second edition: 1611 - One copy known, present whereabouts unknown.
Date of the third edition (this map): 1611 - Two copies recorded: Nürnberg, Germ. Nationalmuseum; Paris, Bibl. Nat.
Date on map: 1611.

Oriented to the west.

Cartographer: Hessel Gerritsz.
Engraver: Hessel Geritsz.

Copper engraving, printed on paper.
Map size: 435 x 555mm (17.13 x 21.85 inches).
Sheet size: 450 x 565mm (17.72 x 22.24 inches).
Verso: Blank.
Condition: Slightly age-toned, short margins (5-12mm), some fraying at bottom edge, good impression.
Condition Rating: A.

Separate publication by Cornelis Janszoon.

As far as we can tell, this is the only copy, published by Cornelis Janszoon, that has come on the market in the last fifty years.

The scarce third state of the LEO BELGICUS  - lion passant facing left,  by Hessel Gerritz, published by Cornelis Janszoon.

There is no known exemplar of the first state, one of the second and two of the third.

There are two types of this Leo Belgicus: the "lion rampant facing right" engraved by Hendrik Floris van Langren; and the "lion passant facing left", which was introduced by the engraver Hessel Gerritsz, who masterfully engraved it in copper. The publication history of the latter is complicated, however, and was only unravelled in the course of Van der Heijden's research. What complicates the story is that Hessel Gerritz engraved two almost identical copperplates in the same period, subsequently published by a series of publishing houses in Amsterdam. Our copy is the third state of the rare first plate.

Translation of bottom cartouche text: "The Leo Belgicus as a personification of the Netherlands. My fame of Trojan courage and strength and my glory as another Mars are known worldwide. But far more happy would I be than many a king if the gods would grant me everlasting peace".

The Netherlands, depicted in the form of a lion, originated with the Austrian Michael von Aitzing (c. 1530-98), who inserted in his book De Leone Belgico (1583) a Leo Belgicus map engraved by Frans Hogenberg. In the preface of this work, von Aitzing explains why he chose this particular title and inserted the lion map. He explains that Caesar mentioned in his Commentaries that the "Belgae" were the strongest tribes. He, therefore, decided - partly because of the religious conflicts in the war against Spain - to introduce the Netherlands in the shape of a lion.


Hessel Gerritsz. (1580/81 – 1632)

Hessel Gerritsz. was one of the most influential and innovative map makers of the seventeenth century. He was born in Assum in North Holland and went to school in Alkmaar. He must have known Willem Jansz. (= Willem Blaeu) who stayed in Alkmaar for several years. Later he moved to Amsterdam for his further education.
After the closing of the Scheldt River, Amsterdam’s competitor was cut off, so that Amsterdam was able to take over the function of world trade centre. Flourishing Amsterdam offered plenty of work and exercised a great attraction for the craftsmen from the Southern Netherlands. The two dominating publishers in the cartographical field were Cornelis Claesz. and Jodocus Hondius both from the Southern Netherlands. Hessel Gerritsz. was trained in the graphic trade by David Vingboons, a painter and artist who also came from the Southern Netherlands.
After his apprenticeship with David Vingboons, Hessel Gerritsz. continued his schooling in the publishing house of Willem Jansz. (Blaeu). There he was able to perfect his etching style and was given the mathematical skills which would be so useful to him later, and he learnt the trade of mapmaking. Together with the engraver Josua van den Ende he was responsible for the engraving of the superb wall map of the Seventeen Provinces (1608). Van den Ende engraved the map image while Hessel Gerritsz. took care of the decorative borders and the decorations on the main map.
During his activities for Willem Jansz. Hessel Gerritsz. not only perfected his etching and engraving style but received the geographical and mathematical education which would stand him in good stead in later years. He could wish for no better cartographical school. Blaeu’s workshop was a sort of repository where geographical information from all parts of the world came together.
Hessel Gerritsz. married in 1607 to Geertje Gijsbertdr. One of his children, Gerrit, born in 1609, was to follow in his father’s footsteps. Shortly after his marriage, he established himself as an independent engraver, mapmaker and printer.
Hessel Gerritsz. regularly worked with Claes Jansz. Visscher as well. They co-operated for a long time.
His artistic talent comes to the fore in his map of the Leo Belgicus, depicting the Seventeen Provinces in the shape of a lion. This was seen as a symbol of the courage and persistence of the Dutch provinces in their resistance against Spanish tyranny.
In the years 1612-13 Hessel Gerritsz. was intensively busy with publications about Russia. In 1612, the influential booklet Beschryvinghe vander Samoyeden Landt appeared by him. The two chapters about Siberia were provided by Isaac Massa, who had lived in Moscow for nine years. With the aid of original Russian material Gerrritsz. was able to produce a series of three maps in folio format: a map of Russia and town plans of Moscow and the Kremlin. He also made a new important wall map of Lithuania and engraved it on four plates for Willem Blaeu. In the meantime, he also made a wall map and a folio map of Spain.
Next to these works undertaken on his initiative, Hessel Gerritsz. also accepted engraving and publishing tasks for third parties.
In 1617, Hessel Gerritsz. published a large wall map of Italy in six sheets. He gave his wall map an extra cachet by extending the map image with town views and costumed figures. The map was copied shortly after publication by Willem Blaeu. To protect himself against such plagiarism in the future, he requested a patent from the States-General. In January 1618, they granted him a general license in which amongst other things it was forbidden in any way to reproduce, copy or distribute his maps, both written or printed.
Hessel Gerritsz. was so highly regarded in 1617, that he received such an extraordinary privilege. He was appointed as instructor in geography for the Councillors of the Admiralty at Amsterdam and as mapmaker for the Chamber Amsterdam of the VOC. With both appointments, his old employer Willem Blaeu was passed over. In his function of mapmaker of the VOC, he was able to improve and expand the charts for the navigation to and from the Indies. The chart maker, of course, did not draw the charts needed for the VOC ships himself. He manufactured specific prototypes, the so-called leggers, (master charts) which served as models for copying work by his assistants in his house.

At the beginning of September 1632, Hessel Gerritsz. died at the age of 52. He must be considered one of the most comprehensive map makers of his time. “He was multi-disciplined in his method of working, integrating graphical technique and artistic expression in his scientific approach. Because of his mathematical talent, he was able to solve nautical problems and make proposals about them. His exceptional network – the interviews with pilots from the diverse companies, as well as his correspondence with persons at home and abroad – supplied him with a huge amount of geographical and nautical information that he used most efficiently. His good contacts with the families of the great merchants and ship owners and the representatives of the influential regents opened doors for him. He was, without doubt, the most informed person in geographical matters in Amsterdam of his time.” (Schilder)


Cornelis Janszoon  (? - ± 1662)

Little is known about Cornelis Janszoon. Obviously, he was not related to the well-known Janssen-Janssonius family.

In a notary act of 27th April 1643, it says that the brothers Gerrit and Cornelis Jansz were book dealers. In 1662 one Cornelis Jansz. (the same?) published a medical book, Genees- en Heelkunst. 

In 1611 he published a Leo Belgicus - the lion passant facing left - first published by Hessel Gerritsz.