This remarkable third volume of 61 maps with original hand-coloring is is Jan & Willem Blaeu’s Le Theatre du Monde… This was published in Amerstam by Blaeu in 1645. Bound in Vellum are 57 full page fold out maps, 3 maps inset to regular page, 1 map to full single page, and a frontispiece. The maps are predominantly of Italy and the surrounding area. The last 7 maps focus on the British Isles.
The Blaeus’s atlases had extremely high production standards. The quality of the engraving, the paper, and colouring are of the highest quality. The maps are embellished in the Baroque style.
Willem Janszoon Blaeu (1571-1638), Jan’s father, founded the famous Blaeu cartographic firm in Amsterdam. He studied astronomy and science under Tycho Brahe. He established a globe and instrument making business in 1599 which soon expanded into cartography publishing. It became one of the most important publishing firms in the world that was also later run by his sons Cornelis and Jan (1596-1673). Their maps are noted for their fine engraving process, coloring, and design and are often referred to as “the highest expression of Dutch cartographical art.”