[EASTERN EUROPE] BLAEU, Willem Janszoon [1571-1638] and GERRITSZ, Hessel [1580/81-1632]
Magni Ducatus Lithuaniae Caeterarumque Regionum Illi Adiacentium Exacta Descriptio
Amsterdam: Guilhelmus Janssonius, Blaeu, 1613. Large engraved map of Lithuania, Latvia, and Kaliningrad with adjacent regions of Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine. 4 sheets joined, Dimensions: 31 1/2 x 30 1/4 inches. Copper engraving with original hand-colouring; verso blank. Minor restoration.
The incredibly rare first edition, first state of the most important wall map of Lithuania from the 17th century.
Fine example of this important wall map of Lithuania and parts of Poland, Russia, Ukraine, and Latvia, extending to Cracow, Kiev, Warsaw, Riga, Konigsberg, Dantzig, Leopolis, and nearby regions. The map was engraved by Hessel Gerritsz from original drafts prepared under the instructions of Prince Nicolas Christophe Radziwill, and first issued in 1613 by Willem Blaeu, under his original imprint Guilhelmus Janssonis. This is one of the earliest maps published by Blaeu, who did not incorporate this map into an atlas until approximately 1630. The Radziwill map is one of the most important works of European cartography from the end of the 16th and the beginning of the 17th century and is an important contribution to the progress in the mapping of the whole continent. The map had its beginning in 1586 when Prince Michael Radziwill commissioned M. Strubicz to survey the entire Lithuanian state which then included Poland. Strubicz's map was so accurate and detailed that it provided the basis for all subsequent maps of the area during the 17th and 18th centuries. In addition to the usual topographical details, there is considerable historical information provided. The magnificent engraving by the well-known Gerard Hesselsz includes the Lithuanian coat of arms within an elaborate cartouche, an ornate title piece of scroll work, a wind rose, and three ships in full sail on the Baltic Sea. Buczek remarks that "the map [...] occupies a very prominent position among ... European cartography [and] was also a great step forward in the mapping of the lands then forming part of Poland [...] there are on the map 1020 towns and villages and within the boundaries of the Grand Dutchy of Lithuania alone there are 511 towns, 31 villages, and 1 monastery. "(History of Polish Cartography, pp. 58-63). Adamovitch lists 7 states, the first of which has no verso text. The present copy, dated 1613, has a blank verso.
Aliakser Adamovitch, Map of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 1613 (2021); T. Buczek, The History of Polish Cartography from the 15th to the 18th Century, pp. 58-63 (1966).