HONDIUS, Henricus (1597-1651) and Jan JANSSON (1588-1664)
[The World and Continents - Five Maps]
Amsterdam: Jan Jansson, 1649. Copper-engraved maps, from the "Novus Atlas," German text edition, in excellent condition. Sheet size: 19 5/8 x 23 1/4 inches.
An excellent set of the World and Continents, by Hondius and Jansson, two of the Netherlands' greatest cartographers.
This handsome set of the World and Continents comes from the 1649 German edition of Jan Jansson and Henricus Hondius' Novus Atlas, Das Ist: Welt-Beschreibung mit allerhand schönen newen auszführ lichen Taffeln Inhaltende Die Königreiche und Länder des gantzen Erdtreichs. This monumental work was the inheritor of the legacy of the great atlas first published in 1595 by Rumold Mercator, and later re-issued and revised by Jodocus Hondius and family. In 1630, Willem Blaeu dramatically entered the land atlas market, compelling Jansson and Hondius to mount this powerful reprise. The World map, Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis Geographica ac Hydrographica Tabula, originally dates from 1630, and is present here in the second state, dated '1641', but printed in 1649 using the same plate. It is richly decorated in Baroque style, and is most memorable for the four portraits that adorn it: Julius Caesar and Claudius Ptolemy, at the top; and Gerard Mercator and Jodocus Hondius Sr., at the bottom. Also featured are the four elements of Classical science, illustrated in accordance with Greek and Roman mythology. At the bottom of the composition, between the two hemispheres, are personifications of the four continents. Europe is shown as an enthroned queen with a scepter and a book, symbolising power and knowledge. Alluding to the colonial aspirations of the European powers, Europe accepts gifts offered in outstretched hands by Native Americans, Africans and Asians. In the map, California is shown as an island, a fairly recent innovation, curiously not depicted on the accompanying map of the Americas. The map of Europe, Europa Exactissime Descripta, originally dated 1631, is present here in the second state. Many details regarding the configuration and political boundaries derive from Mercator's map of Europe. The dedication to Louis XIII of France alludes to the alliance forged between France and the United Provinces in 1630, a pact engineered by Cardinal Richelieu which helped guarantee Holland's independence from Spain. (Spain's continued effort to re-invest Holland was one of the ongoing causes of the Thirty Years' War). Africae nova Tabula, first printed in 1631, and present here in the third state, is a fascinating map that reveals the extent to which the interior of the continent largely remained an enigma to Europeans, with the ancient myth that the Nile was fed by two large lakes taking precedence. The coasts, portrayed with relative accuracy, were what really interested the Dutch, who by virtue of their recent seizure of the fortress of Elmina on the Gold Coast had become major protagonists in the African slave trade. The map is embellished with numerous African animals, including ostriches, crocodiles, lions and a griffin. The sea is inhabited by ships, flying fish, sea monsters and the god Neptune. The map of Asia, Asia recens summa cura delineata, was originally printed in 1631, and is present here in the second state, distinguished from the former by the addition of 'Janssonius' as the named publisher. It is dedicated to Eilhard Lubbin, a cartographer and mathematician of Rostock. The image of the Far East is significantly improved from Mercator's example, reflecting information derived from Dutch traders and Jesuit priests. America noviter delineata was first issued by Jodocus Hondius Jr. in 1618, and is present here in the fourth state. Geographically, the map predates the 'California as an Island' phenomenon, and does not include LeMaire's discovery of Cape Horn. The map is elegantly embellished with merchant ships and sea monsters.
Burden, The Mapping of North America I, 192; Koeman, Atlantes Neerlandici I (1997 ed.), 1:424/27; Norwich, Maps of Africa, 34; Shirley, The Mapping of the World, 336.