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The Territory of Frankfurt am Main by J. Blaeu

This new map of the Territory of Frankfurt is dedicated by Joan and Cornelis Blaeu to "The most noble, most magnificent and most prudent lords, the sheriff, burgomasters, aldermen and councillors of this famous city and republic of Frankfurt, most distinguished, most friendly and most incorruptible men, to these their lord protectors, with humble reverence."

The 34 coats of arms of the magistrates of Frankfurt are depicted around the margins. Above the map are personifications of justice (Justicia), Counsel (Consilium), Unity (Concordia) and Peace (Pax), the first with the arms of the Holy Roman Empire and the last with the arms of the city of Frankfurt.

Among the potential purchasers of Blaeu's magnificent atlasses would have been the two mayers of Frankfurt and their council of magistrates, the men whose coats of arms surround this sheet. Neither a town plan nor a particularly detailed topographical map, this picture of the area up to ten miles around Frankfurt was primarily intended to flatter this powerful ruling group. A rebellion twenty-five years earlier had been specifically directed at the magistracy, but the duplication here of family names (discernible in the repeated coats of arms) show how dismally it had failed to alter the oligarchic structure of the society.


The Blaeus: Willem Janszoon, Cornelis & Joan

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

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 specialized in maritime cartography and 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 thirty years of publishing books, wall maps, globes, charts and pilot guides, 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. It is no wonder that these two neighbours, who began accusing each other of copying and stealing their information, became fierce competitors who did not have a good word to say about each other. In about 1621 Willem Jansz. decided to put an end to the confusion between his name and his competitor's, and assumed his grandfather's sobriquet, 'blauwe Willem' ('blue Willem'), as the family name; thereafter he called himself Willem Jansz. Blaeu.

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

Joan Blaeu, born in Amsterdam, 1596, became partner in his father’s book trade and printing business. In 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 of Italy – works unsurpassed in history and in modern times, which gave eternal fame to the name of the Blaeus.

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 a number of booksellers acting in partnership.

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

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Novam Hanc Territorii Francofurtensis Tabulam ... - Joan Blaeu, 1649-55.

€850  ($994.5 / £765)
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Item Number:  3276
Category:  Antique maps > Europe > Germany

Old map of the Territory of Frankfurt am Main by J. Blaeu

Date of the first edition: 1640
Date of this map: 1649

Copper engraving
Size: 45 x 54.5cm (17.6 x 21.3 inches)
Verso text: Latin
Condition: Old coloured, excellent.
Condition Rating: A
References: Van der Krogt 2, 2445:2; Campbell, Early Maps, p.103, pl.47; Baynton-Williams New Worlds, p.77.

From: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum.. J. Blaeu, 1649-55. (Van der Krogt 2, 2:202)

This new map of the Territory of Frankfurt is dedicated by Joan and Cornelis Blaeu to "The most noble, most magnificent and most prudent lords, the sheriff, burgomasters, aldermen and councillors of this famous city and republic of Frankfurt, most distinguished, most friendly and most incorruptible men, to these their lord protectors, with humble reverence."

The 34 coats of arms of the magistrates of Frankfurt are depicted around the margins. Above the map are personifications of justice (Justicia), Counsel (Consilium), Unity (Concordia) and Peace (Pax), the first with the arms of the Holy Roman Empire and the last with the arms of the city of Frankfurt.

Among the potential purchasers of Blaeu's magnificent atlasses would have been the two mayers of Frankfurt and their council of magistrates, the men whose coats of arms surround this sheet. Neither a town plan nor a particularly detailed topographical map, this picture of the area up to ten miles around Frankfurt was primarily intended to flatter this powerful ruling group. A rebellion twenty-five years earlier had been specifically directed at the magistracy, but the duplication here of family names (discernible in the repeated coats of arms) show how dismally it had failed to alter the oligarchic structure of the society.


The Blaeus: Willem Janszoon, Cornelis & Joan

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

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 specialized in maritime cartography and 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 thirty years of publishing books, wall maps, globes, charts and pilot guides, 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. It is no wonder that these two neighbours, who began accusing each other of copying and stealing their information, became fierce competitors who did not have a good word to say about each other. In about 1621 Willem Jansz. decided to put an end to the confusion between his name and his competitor's, and assumed his grandfather's sobriquet, 'blauwe Willem' ('blue Willem'), as the family name; thereafter he called himself Willem Jansz. Blaeu.

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

Joan Blaeu, born in Amsterdam, 1596, became partner in his father’s book trade and printing business. In 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 of Italy – works unsurpassed in history and in modern times, which gave eternal fame to the name of the Blaeus.

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 a number of booksellers acting in partnership.

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