Map of Friesland, The Netherlands or Holland (Frisiae Antiquissimae Trans Rhenum Provinci et Adua centium Regionum Nova et Exacta descriptio)

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Speculum orbis Terrae

This truly significant map is from one of the rarest atlases ever published, Gerard and Cornelis de Jode’s Speculum orbis Terrae. The work was published in Antwerp in 1593 by Arnold Coninx for the widow and heirs. This is considered the second edition, revised an expanded. The first edition was published in 1578. Van Ortroy knew of only 14 copies of the second edition being published. (Skelton, Introduction to the facsimile editions)

De Jode drew upon his large stock of maps from Italian, German, and Flemish cartographers to create his atlas. He engraved some of the maps and his brothers, Joannes and Lucas van Deutecum, also contributed to the process. The second edition included additional maps from Gerard’s son Cornelis. The maps have descriptive text to verso in Latin. The text for the first edition was written by the German scholar, Daniel Cellarius.

The atlas contained some of the most groundbreaking maps ever published. The maps of the world, Americas, Australia, and China are of particular note and remain some of the most important maps ever published. While it may not have had commercial success at the time, it is considered a masterpiece of 16th century cartography. Very few examples of the maps have survived from either edition.

Gerard de Jode (1521- 1591) was a Flemish cartographer, printer, and engraver. He produced and sold many maps in Antwerp, but his legacy lies in his outstanding atlas, Speculum Orbis Terrarum. De Jode was a contemporary and competitor of Abraham Ortelius. Ortelius was believed to have been responsible for delaying de Jode’s work so his atlas Theatrum Orbis Terrarum would precede de Jode’s. Because Ortelius’s atlas had 8 years on the market it was well established and thus de Jode’s atlas did not sell very well.

To compete with Ortelius, de Jode worked on the second revised and expanded edition. De Jode’s wife and son, Cornelis (1568-1600) took over the publishing upon Gerard’s death in 1591. Cornelis prepared ten new maps of the World, North America, China, Australia and Alaska and re-issued the atlas. “Many of de Jode’s maps are judged to be superior to those of Ortelius, both in detail and style.” (Burden)

Antwerp publisher Joan Baptista Vrients purchased the plates after Cornelis’s death. He also acquired Ortelius’s plates for Theatrum Orbis Terrarum to which he gave priority. It is likely he bought de Jode’s plates to prevent any further editions of Speculum of course only increasing the intrigue and worth of the maps today.

“Although the atlas may not have appealed to the public, it was admired by other cartographers. As evidence, Petrus Montanus mentions it in the same breath with Mercator’s Atlas and Ortelius’ Theatrum in his preface to Pieter Kaerius’ Germaniae inferior (Wardington Catalogue), Michael von Aitzing refers to it in his work, DeLeone Belgico (1583). Von Aitzing intended his work to act also as a supplement to both the Theatrum of Ortelius and the Speculum of De Jode.” (Burden)

Provenance : Ownership inscription at the bottom of the title page ex Bibliotheca Prim d Federici 1600.

References: Van der Krogt 32:02B (titles 32:2A and 32:2B) ; Koeman II, Jod 2 ; Shirley, The mapping of the world, 165,184 ; Burden, The mapping of America, 81, 82 ; Symour, L. Schwartz, Ehrenberg, The mapping of America, pp. 78-79 ; Norwich, Maps of Africa 19 ; Navari, Maps of Cyprus, 29 ; Tooley, Dictionnary of mapmakers II, p. 441 ; Tooley, Mapping of Australia,; Tooley, Arabia in early maps, 38 (1st ed.) ; Koeman, Schilder, van Egmond, van der Krogt, HOC,vol. 3 part 2, Commercial Cartography and Map Production in the Low Countries, 1500 – ca. 1672, pp. 1321-1323 ; Ortroy, Fern van, L’oeuvre cartographique de Gerard et de Corneille de Jode, Gand 1914, 82-121.

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