Blaeu’s Theatrum Orbis Terrarum or Toonel des Aerdrycks ofte Nieuwe atlas – Six Volumes with 409 Engraved Maps


Product No. blaeu-atlas

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Toonel des Aerdrycks ofte Nieuwe atlas, dat is Beschryving van alle Landen...

This remarkable, originally hand-colored atlas is Willem Janszoon and Joan Blaeu’s Toonel des Aerdrycks ofte Nieuwe atlas, dat is Beschryving van alle Landen… the Dutch edition of Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. The work was published in Amsterdam by Joan Blaeu between 1642 and 1655 (1661).

The work is in six volumes with 409 mostly double-page maps (on 408 plates). The text and index leaves are complete and in Dutch. The work in publisher’s binding, contemporary gilt vellum with gilt edges. The first four bindings are uniform and a bit smaller with volumes 5 and 6 slightly larger including the paper size. The Dutch edition of Blaeu’s Theatrum Orbis Terrarum is the most complicated of the editions of this atlas. The text was reset at least four times, and the general title page shows many different dates from 1642 to 1661. However, the resetting of the text and the change of the date on the title page were not at the same time. (Van der Krogt)

The work is bound in six volumes with the following areas depicted in the volumes as below:

Volume I : the World, Arctic, Northern and Eastern Europe, Germany and The Low Countries, 120 maps
Volume II : France, Italy, Spain & Africa, Asia, America 92 maps
Volume III : Italy, Greece and the Appendix to the British Isles, 66 maps
Volume IV : England, 59 maps on 58 pl.
Volume V : Scotland and Ireland, 55 maps
Volume VI : China, 17 maps.

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. 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.” He also served as the official cartagropher for the Dutch East India Company in 1630.
Jan Blaeu (1596-1673) began the publication of the Nuevo Atlas in 1659 and would eventually change the title to Atlas Mayor. It was to be his most famous atlas, and was meant to include up to 13 volumes, but only 10 volumes were ever completed as his printing house was destroyed by fire. He was also noted for the publication of the atlas Theatrum orbis Terrarum.

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