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Russia by Willem & Joan Blaeu. 1643

This map includes two insets: a plan of Moscow and a view of Archangel. The plan of Moscow is a reduced version of a Russian plan dating from approx. 1597-1599 and was probably copied by Fyodor Godunov as a school exercise. A note to the reader chiefly describes the fortifications of the city: "Gentle reader, here you see the sections of the walls of the city of Moscow divided into four, or rather the four fortifications of the walls, of which the innermost is called Kitaygorod and is also a city itself. Closest to this is the castle, or rather the palace, surrounded by walls called Kremlenagrad, encircled by two stone walls, to which a few other materials have been added. The city, which continues to the east, north and west, is called Tsargorod, the city of the tsar: surrounded by walls of white stone but with earth added. The surrounding area outside is called Skorodum, with walls of wood but no earth; the part of it is situated on the other side of the Moskva River, however, is called Strelzka Slaboda, and soldiers live in the houses there, and the guard of the great lord the tsar and the grand duke, and other children of Mars."
The walls of Kitaygorod were built between 1534 and 1538. The nine-kilometre wall with 28 towers surrounding Tsargrad, or Belgorod (white city), was built between 1583 and 1593. The outermost earthworks with a wooden fence were constructed in 1591. This part of the city was called Zemlyanoigorod (earthen city). In these earthen walls were 12 gates.


The Blaeus: Willem Janszoon, Cornelis & Joan

Willem Jansz. Blaeu and his son Joan Blaeu are the seventeenth century's most widely known cartographic publishers.

Willem Jansz. (also written Guilielmus Janssonius) = Willem Janszoon Blaeu was born in Uitgeest (Netherlands), near Alkmaar, in 1571. He studied mathematics under Tycho Brahe and learned the theory and practice of astronomical observations and the art of instrument- and globe-making.

In 1596, he came to Amsterdam, where he settled down as a globe-, instrument- and map-maker. He published his first cartographic work (a globe) in 1599 and probably published his first printed map (a map of the Netherlands) in 1604. He specialised in maritime cartography, published the first edition of the pilot guide Het Licht der Zeevaert in 1608, and was appointed Hydrographer of the V.O.C. (United East India Company) in 1633. After publishing books, wall maps, globes, charts and pilot guides for thirty years, he brought out his first atlas, Atlas Appendix (1630). This was the beginning of the great tradition of atlas-making by the Blaeus.

In 1618, another mapmaker, bookseller and publisher, Johannes Janssonius, established himself in Amsterdam next door to Blaeu's shop. No wonder these two neighbours began accusing each other of copying and stealing their information and became fierce competitors who did not have a good word to say about each other. In about 1621 Willem Jansz. decided to end the confusion between his name and his competitor's and assumed his grandfather's nickname, 'blauwe Willem' ('blue Willem'), as the family name; after that, he called himself Willem Jansz. Blaeu.

Willem Janszoon Blaeu died in 1638, leaving his prospering business to his sons, Cornelis and Joan. We only know that Cornelis's name occurs in the prefaces of books and atlases until c. 1645.

Joan Blaeu, born in Amsterdam in 1596, became a partner in his father’s book trade and printing business. 1638, he was appointed his father’s successor in the Hydrographic Office of the V.O.C. His efforts culminated in the magnificent Atlas Major and the town books of the Netherlands and Italy – works unsurpassed in history and modern times, giving eternal fame to the name of the Blaeu's.

On February 23, 1672, a fire ruined the business. One year later, Dr Joan Blaeu died. The fire of 1672 and the passing away of the director gave rise to a complete sale of the stock of the Blaeu House. Five public auctions dispersed the remaining books, atlases, copperplates, globes, etc., among many other map dealers and publishers in Amsterdam. The majority was acquired by several booksellers acting in partnership.

In the succeeding years, the remaining printing department was left in the hands of the Blaeu family until 1695, when the printing house's inventory was sold at a public auction. That meant the end of the Blaeu's as a printing house of world renown.


Hessel Gerritsz. (1580/81 – 1632)

Hessel Gerritsz. was one of the seventeenth century's most influential and innovative map makers. He was born in Assum in North Holland and attended Alkmaar school. 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 Amsterdam could take over the world trade centre's function. Flourishing Amsterdam offered plenty of work and was an excellent attraction for artisans 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 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 could perfect his etching style, was given the mathematical skills that would be useful to him later, and learned the trade of mapmaking. With the engraver Josua van den Ende, he was responsible for engraving 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 also received the geographical and mathematical education that would stand him in good stead in later years. He could not wish for a better cartographical school. Blaeu’s workshop was a 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 cooperated 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 1612-13, Hessel Gerritsz. was intensively busy with publications about Russia. In 1612, he published the influential booklet Beschryvinghe vander Samoyeden Landt. 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. produced a series of three maps in folio format: a map of Russia and Moscow and the Kremlin town plans. He also made an essential new 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 a geography instructor for the Councillors of the Admiralty at Amsterdam and as a mapmaker for the Chamber Amsterdam of the VOC. With both appointments, his old employer, Willem Blaeu, was passed over. In his function as VOC's mapmaker, he improved and expanded the charts for 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 working method, integrating graphical technique and artistic expression in his scientific approach. Because of his mathematical talent, he could solve nautical problems and make proposals about them. His exceptional network – the interviews with pilots from diverse companies and 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, ship owners, and the influential regents' representatives opened doors for him. He was, without doubt, the most informed person in geographical matters in Amsterdam of his time.” (Schilder)

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Tabula Russiae ex autographo, quod delineandum curavit Foedor filius Tzaris Boris desumta; . . . M.DC.XIIII.

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Item Number:  29900 Authenticity Guarantee

Category:  Antique maps > Europe > Eastern Europe

Old, antique map of Russia by Willem & Joan Blaeu.

Title: Tabula Russiae ex autographo, quod delineandum curavit Foedor filius Tzaris Boris desumta; . . . M.DC.XIIII.
Amstelodami, Excusum Apud Guiljelmum Blaeu.

Dedicated to Czar Michael Foedrowits by Hesselus Gerardus.


With two insets: a plan of Moscow and a view of Archangel.

Cartographer: Hessel Gerritsz.

Date of the first edition: 1629.
Date of this map: 1643.

Copper engraving, printed on paper.
Image size: 425 x 545mm (16.73 x 21.46 inches).
Sheet size: 505 x 615mm (19.88 x 24.21 inches).
Verso: French text.
Condition: Original coloured, excellent.
Condition Rating: A+.

From: Le Theatre du Monde ou Nouvel Atlas contenant les Chartes et Descriptions de tous les Païs de la terre. Mis en lumiere Par Guillaume et Iean Blaeu. Amsterdam, Joan Blaeu, 1643. (Van der Krogt 2, 212.1F)

This map includes two insets: a plan of Moscow and a view of Archangel. The plan of Moscow is a reduced version of a Russian plan dating from approx. 1597-1599 and was probably copied by Fyodor Godunov as a school exercise. A note to the reader chiefly describes the fortifications of the city: "Gentle reader, here you see the sections of the walls of the city of Moscow divided into four, or rather the four fortifications of the walls, of which the innermost is called Kitaygorod and is also a city itself. Closest to this is the castle, or rather the palace, surrounded by walls called Kremlenagrad, encircled by two stone walls, to which a few other materials have been added. The city, which continues to the east, north and west, is called Tsargorod, the city of the tsar: surrounded by walls of white stone but with earth added. The surrounding area outside is called Skorodum, with walls of wood but no earth; the part of it is situated on the other side of the Moskva River, however, is called Strelzka Slaboda, and soldiers live in the houses there, and the guard of the great lord the tsar and the grand duke, and other children of Mars."
The walls of Kitaygorod were built between 1534 and 1538. The nine-kilometre wall with 28 towers surrounding Tsargrad, or Belgorod (white city), was built between 1583 and 1593. The outermost earthworks with a wooden fence were constructed in 1591. This part of the city was called Zemlyanoigorod (earthen city). In these earthen walls were 12 gates.


The Blaeus: Willem Janszoon, Cornelis & Joan

Willem Jansz. Blaeu and his son Joan Blaeu are the seventeenth century's most widely known cartographic publishers.

Willem Jansz. (also written Guilielmus Janssonius) = Willem Janszoon Blaeu was born in Uitgeest (Netherlands), near Alkmaar, in 1571. He studied mathematics under Tycho Brahe and learned the theory and practice of astronomical observations and the art of instrument- and globe-making.

In 1596, he came to Amsterdam, where he settled down as a globe-, instrument- and map-maker. He published his first cartographic work (a globe) in 1599 and probably published his first printed map (a map of the Netherlands) in 1604. He specialised in maritime cartography, published the first edition of the pilot guide Het Licht der Zeevaert in 1608, and was appointed Hydrographer of the V.O.C. (United East India Company) in 1633. After publishing books, wall maps, globes, charts and pilot guides for thirty years, he brought out his first atlas, Atlas Appendix (1630). This was the beginning of the great tradition of atlas-making by the Blaeus.

In 1618, another mapmaker, bookseller and publisher, Johannes Janssonius, established himself in Amsterdam next door to Blaeu's shop. No wonder these two neighbours began accusing each other of copying and stealing their information and became fierce competitors who did not have a good word to say about each other. In about 1621 Willem Jansz. decided to end the confusion between his name and his competitor's and assumed his grandfather's nickname, 'blauwe Willem' ('blue Willem'), as the family name; after that, he called himself Willem Jansz. Blaeu.

Willem Janszoon Blaeu died in 1638, leaving his prospering business to his sons, Cornelis and Joan. We only know that Cornelis's name occurs in the prefaces of books and atlases until c. 1645.

Joan Blaeu, born in Amsterdam in 1596, became a partner in his father’s book trade and printing business. 1638, he was appointed his father’s successor in the Hydrographic Office of the V.O.C. His efforts culminated in the magnificent Atlas Major and the town books of the Netherlands and Italy – works unsurpassed in history and modern times, giving eternal fame to the name of the Blaeu's.

On February 23, 1672, a fire ruined the business. One year later, Dr Joan Blaeu died. The fire of 1672 and the passing away of the director gave rise to a complete sale of the stock of the Blaeu House. Five public auctions dispersed the remaining books, atlases, copperplates, globes, etc., among many other map dealers and publishers in Amsterdam. The majority was acquired by several booksellers acting in partnership.

In the succeeding years, the remaining printing department was left in the hands of the Blaeu family until 1695, when the printing house's inventory was sold at a public auction. That meant the end of the Blaeu's as a printing house of world renown.


Hessel Gerritsz. (1580/81 – 1632)

Hessel Gerritsz. was one of the seventeenth century's most influential and innovative map makers. He was born in Assum in North Holland and attended Alkmaar school. 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 Amsterdam could take over the world trade centre's function. Flourishing Amsterdam offered plenty of work and was an excellent attraction for artisans 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 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 could perfect his etching style, was given the mathematical skills that would be useful to him later, and learned the trade of mapmaking. With the engraver Josua van den Ende, he was responsible for engraving 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 also received the geographical and mathematical education that would stand him in good stead in later years. He could not wish for a better cartographical school. Blaeu’s workshop was a 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 cooperated 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 1612-13, Hessel Gerritsz. was intensively busy with publications about Russia. In 1612, he published the influential booklet Beschryvinghe vander Samoyeden Landt. 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. produced a series of three maps in folio format: a map of Russia and Moscow and the Kremlin town plans. He also made an essential new 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 a geography instructor for the Councillors of the Admiralty at Amsterdam and as a mapmaker for the Chamber Amsterdam of the VOC. With both appointments, his old employer, Willem Blaeu, was passed over. In his function as VOC's mapmaker, he improved and expanded the charts for 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 working method, integrating graphical technique and artistic expression in his scientific approach. Because of his mathematical talent, he could solve nautical problems and make proposals about them. His exceptional network – the interviews with pilots from diverse companies and 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, ship owners, and the influential regents' representatives opened doors for him. He was, without doubt, the most informed person in geographical matters in Amsterdam of his time.” (Schilder)

References: Van der Krogt 2 - 1800:2.2; Schilder 4 - pp. 78-79; Schilder 9 - VI.2.3

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