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Italy by Willem Blaeu. 1642-43

The first state of this map was published by Jodocus Hondius jr (before 1629) and was framed on all sides by decorative borders. After Jodocus Hondius died in 1629, the copperplate passed into the hands of Willem Blaeu. Blaeu trimmed the decorative borders and removed the dedication and Jodocus Hondius's signature. This cut-down map appears in the second edition of Blaeu's Appendix of 1631 and the later atlases of the Blaeu family.


The Hondius Family.

Jodocus Hondius the Elder (1563-1612)

Joost d’Hondt was born at Wakken (Flanders) in 1563. Two years later, his family settled down in Ghent, where young Joost displayed a great gift for drawing and calligraphy. By study and lessons, he developed his talents and became an engraver with a good reputation.

Due to the circumstances of war, he moved in 1584 to London where he settled down as an engraver, instrument-maker and map-maker. In 1587, he married Coletta van den Keere, sister of the well-known engraver, Pieter van den Keere (Petrus Kaerius); some years earlier his sister, Jacomina, had married Pieter van den Berghe (Petrus Montanus). Joost, who had latinized his name to Jodocus Hondius, closely co-operated with his two brothers-in-law.

The political situation in the Northern Netherlands in 1593 was such that Jodocus seemed to be justified in establishing himself in Amsterdam, where so many Antwerp printers, publishers, and engravers had gone. In this new centre of cartography, Jodocus Hondius set up his business “In de Wackere Hondt” (in the vigilant dog), this name being an allusion to his birthplace and name. Here he engraved many maps and published atlases and many other works such as his continuation of Gerard Mercator’s Atlas.

He suddenly passed away in February 1612. The publishing firm of Jodocus Hondius was continued by his widow; later on by his two sons Jodocus Jr., and Henricus, and by his son-in-law, J. Janssonius.

Jodocus Hondius II (1594-1629) & Henricus Hondius (1597-1651)

After the father’s death, the widow with her seven children continued publishing the atlases under the name of Jodocus Hondius till 1620. The firm was reinforced by the very welcome help of Joannes Janssonius (1588-1664), who married 24-year-old Elisabeth Hondius in 1612. After 1619 Mercator’s Atlas was published under the name of Henricus Hondius.

One of the most dramatic events in the early history of commercial cartography in Amsterdam was the sale of Jodocus Hondius Jr.’s copper-plates to Willem Jansz. Blaeu in 1629, the year of his death. At least 34 plates, from which Jodocus II had printed single-sheet maps for his own benefit, passed into the hands of his great competitor. Immediately after that, his brother, Henricus, and Joannes Janssonius ordered the engraving of identical plates.

During a long period, Henricus devoted all his energy to the publication of the Atlas. He saw its growth up to, and including, the fourth part in 1646; after that, his name does not figure any more on the title-pages. After 1638, the title of the Atlas was changed to Atlas Novus; it was mainly carried on by Joannes Janssonius.

The competition with the Blaeus dates from 1630. In 1630, Willem Janszoon (=Blaeu) made the first attack with his Atlantis Appendix. In 1635, Blaeu completed his Theatrum orbis terrarum in two volumes with texts in French, Latin, Dutch, and German, which prompted Henricus Hondius to speed up the enlargement of his Atlas.


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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Nova Italiae Delineatio.

€750  ($802.5 / £637.5)
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Item Number:  28676
Category:  Antique maps > Europe > Italy
References: Van der Krogt 2 - 7000:2A.2; Borri (Italia, 2010) - p. 118 #110; Borri (Italy, 1999) - p. 76 #84; Schilder 6 - p. 387 #96.2

Old, antique map of Italy by Jodocus Hondius Jr., published by Willem Blaeu.

Title: Nova Italiae Delineatio.

Date of the first edition: Before 1629 (Jodocus Hondius)
Date of the first atlas edition by Blaeu: 1631
Date of this map: 1642-43.

Copper engraving, printed on paper.
Map size: 382 x 504mm (15.04 x 19.84 inches).
Sheet size: 540 x 625mm (21.26 x 24.61 inches).
Verso: Dutch text.
Condition: Original coloured, restored in the centre.
Condition Rating: B.

From: Toonneel des Aerdriicx, Ofte Nieuwe Atlas, Dat is Beschryving van alle Landen. Amsterdam, 1642-43. (Van der Krogt 2, 221)

The first state of this map was published by Jodocus Hondius jr (before 1629) and was framed on all sides by decorative borders. After Jodocus Hondius died in 1629, the copperplate passed into the hands of Willem Blaeu. Blaeu trimmed the decorative borders and removed the dedication and Jodocus Hondius's signature. This cut-down map appears in the second edition of Blaeu's Appendix of 1631 and the later atlases of the Blaeu family.


The Hondius Family.

Jodocus Hondius the Elder (1563-1612)

Joost d’Hondt was born at Wakken (Flanders) in 1563. Two years later, his family settled down in Ghent, where young Joost displayed a great gift for drawing and calligraphy. By study and lessons, he developed his talents and became an engraver with a good reputation.

Due to the circumstances of war, he moved in 1584 to London where he settled down as an engraver, instrument-maker and map-maker. In 1587, he married Coletta van den Keere, sister of the well-known engraver, Pieter van den Keere (Petrus Kaerius); some years earlier his sister, Jacomina, had married Pieter van den Berghe (Petrus Montanus). Joost, who had latinized his name to Jodocus Hondius, closely co-operated with his two brothers-in-law.

The political situation in the Northern Netherlands in 1593 was such that Jodocus seemed to be justified in establishing himself in Amsterdam, where so many Antwerp printers, publishers, and engravers had gone. In this new centre of cartography, Jodocus Hondius set up his business “In de Wackere Hondt” (in the vigilant dog), this name being an allusion to his birthplace and name. Here he engraved many maps and published atlases and many other works such as his continuation of Gerard Mercator’s Atlas.

He suddenly passed away in February 1612. The publishing firm of Jodocus Hondius was continued by his widow; later on by his two sons Jodocus Jr., and Henricus, and by his son-in-law, J. Janssonius.

Jodocus Hondius II (1594-1629) & Henricus Hondius (1597-1651)

After the father’s death, the widow with her seven children continued publishing the atlases under the name of Jodocus Hondius till 1620. The firm was reinforced by the very welcome help of Joannes Janssonius (1588-1664), who married 24-year-old Elisabeth Hondius in 1612. After 1619 Mercator’s Atlas was published under the name of Henricus Hondius.

One of the most dramatic events in the early history of commercial cartography in Amsterdam was the sale of Jodocus Hondius Jr.’s copper-plates to Willem Jansz. Blaeu in 1629, the year of his death. At least 34 plates, from which Jodocus II had printed single-sheet maps for his own benefit, passed into the hands of his great competitor. Immediately after that, his brother, Henricus, and Joannes Janssonius ordered the engraving of identical plates.

During a long period, Henricus devoted all his energy to the publication of the Atlas. He saw its growth up to, and including, the fourth part in 1646; after that, his name does not figure any more on the title-pages. After 1638, the title of the Atlas was changed to Atlas Novus; it was mainly carried on by Joannes Janssonius.

The competition with the Blaeus dates from 1630. In 1630, Willem Janszoon (=Blaeu) made the first attack with his Atlantis Appendix. In 1635, Blaeu completed his Theatrum orbis terrarum in two volumes with texts in French, Latin, Dutch, and German, which prompted Henricus Hondius to speed up the enlargement of his Atlas.


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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