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North Rhein-Westphalia by Hessel Gerritz

The Janssonius Family

Joannes Janssonius (Arnhem, 1588-1664), son of the Arnhem publisher Jan Janssen, married Elisabeth Hondius, daughter of Jodocus Hondius, in Amsterdam in 1612. After his marriage, he settled down in this town as a bookseller and publisher of cartographic material. In 1618 he established himself in Amsterdam next door to Blaeu’s book shop. He entered into serious competition with Willem Jansz. Blaeu when copying Blaeu’s Licht der Zeevaert after the expiration of the privilege in 1620. His activities not only concerned the publication of atlases and books, but also of single maps and an extensive book trade with branches in Frankfurt, Danzig, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Berlin, Koningsbergen, Geneva, and Lyon. In 1631 he began publishing atlases together with Henricus Hondius.

In the early 1640s Henricus Hondius left the atlas publishing business completely to Janssonius. Competition with Joan Blaeu, Willem’s son and successor, in atlas production prompted Janssonius to enlarge his Atlas Novus finally into a work of six volumes, into which a sea atlas and an atlas of the Old World were inserted. Other atlases published by Janssonius are Mercator’s Atlas Minor, Hornius’s historical atlas (1652), the townbooks in eight volumes (1657), Cellarius’s Atlas Coelestis and several sea atlases and pilot guides.

After the death of Joannes Janssonius, the shop and publishing firm were continued by the heirs under the direction of Johannes van Waesbergen (c. 1616-1681), son-in-law of Joannes. Van Waesbergen added the name of Janssonius to his own.

In 1676, Joannes Janssonius’s heirs sold by auction “all the remaining Atlases in Latin, French, High and Low German, as well as the Stedeboecken in Latin, in 8 volumes, bound and unbound, maps, plates belonging to the Atlas and Stedeboecken.” The copperplates from Janssonius’s atlases were afterwards sold to Schenk and Valck.


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)

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De Hertochdommen Gulick Cleve Berghe en de Graefschappen vander Marck en Ravensbergh - J. Janssonius - Hessel Gerritsz., 1638.

€300  ($348 / £273)
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Item Number:  4203
Category:  Antique maps > Europe > Germany

Old map of North Rhein-Westphalia by Hessel Gerritz, first published by Blaeu and later by Janssonius.

Cartographer: Hessel Gerritz

Imprint: T'Amsterdam Gedruckt by Hessel Gerritz z. Ende men vindtse te coop by Willem Ians z. (= Willem Blaeu) opt Water In de veruguld Sonnewyser. The upper left corner shows a portrait of the Emperor Rudolph II and the upper right corner a portrait of marcgrave Ernst of Brandenburg. In de lower right corner is an inset map of Ravensberg and Lippe.

Date of the first edition: 1629
Date of this map: 1638

Copper engraving
Size: 42.5 x 55cm (16.6 x 21.5 inches)
Verso text: German
Condition: Some repairs at centrefold, flattened, remains of old colour.
Condition Rating: B
References: Van der Krogt 2, 2381:2A; Schilder 4, 27.2.

From: Newer Atlas, Oder Weltbeschreibung, .... Amsterdam, J. Janssonius, 1638. (Van der Krogt 1, 421.1A)

The Janssonius Family

Joannes Janssonius (Arnhem, 1588-1664), son of the Arnhem publisher Jan Janssen, married Elisabeth Hondius, daughter of Jodocus Hondius, in Amsterdam in 1612. After his marriage, he settled down in this town as a bookseller and publisher of cartographic material. In 1618 he established himself in Amsterdam next door to Blaeu’s book shop. He entered into serious competition with Willem Jansz. Blaeu when copying Blaeu’s Licht der Zeevaert after the expiration of the privilege in 1620. His activities not only concerned the publication of atlases and books, but also of single maps and an extensive book trade with branches in Frankfurt, Danzig, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Berlin, Koningsbergen, Geneva, and Lyon. In 1631 he began publishing atlases together with Henricus Hondius.

In the early 1640s Henricus Hondius left the atlas publishing business completely to Janssonius. Competition with Joan Blaeu, Willem’s son and successor, in atlas production prompted Janssonius to enlarge his Atlas Novus finally into a work of six volumes, into which a sea atlas and an atlas of the Old World were inserted. Other atlases published by Janssonius are Mercator’s Atlas Minor, Hornius’s historical atlas (1652), the townbooks in eight volumes (1657), Cellarius’s Atlas Coelestis and several sea atlases and pilot guides.

After the death of Joannes Janssonius, the shop and publishing firm were continued by the heirs under the direction of Johannes van Waesbergen (c. 1616-1681), son-in-law of Joannes. Van Waesbergen added the name of Janssonius to his own.

In 1676, Joannes Janssonius’s heirs sold by auction “all the remaining Atlases in Latin, French, High and Low German, as well as the Stedeboecken in Latin, in 8 volumes, bound and unbound, maps, plates belonging to the Atlas and Stedeboecken.” The copperplates from Janssonius’s atlases were afterwards sold to Schenk and Valck.


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)