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The Mapping of North America

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ORTELIUS, Abraham – VRIENTS, Jan Baptiste

Angliae et Hiberniae Accurata Descriptio, Veteribus et Recentioribus Nominibus Illustrata

Antwerp, 1605-[09]
435 x 575 mm., in full wash colour, with a narrow margin to the right professionally extended a little, two small wormholes near the upper centrefold repaired, old crease lower right corner, otherwise in good condition.
The second state with Latin text of Jan Baptiste Vrients’ classic map of England, Wales and Ireland issued to celebrate the recent accession of James I to the throne. It first appeared in the English text edition of Abraham Ortelius’ ‘Theatre of the World’ published in 1606. On the death of Queen Elizabeth I in March 1603, James VI of Scotland inherited the throne. Along with uniting the Scottish and English thrones he claimed historical rights to the throne of France. The dedication of the English edition of the atlas is to ‘James by the grace of God, King of Great Britaine, France and Ireland’ and was clearly made to cultivate sales. A similar claim appears on this map upper right on the first state.

In 1608 Vrients published an Italian edition dedicated to the Pope. The Catholic Church did not recognise James I, a Protestant, as King of France then ruled by Henry IV. This was also the case for Ireland. Therefore, Vrients issued variants of the map in which a pasted label re-written would be placed over the offending part of the map; this did however still leave one further reference to the claim still visible in almost all known examples. These are known as variants of the first state.

For the Latin edition of 1609 offered here Vrients was clearly prepared having had time to alter the plates themselves. All references to James I being King of France and Ireland are removed creating the second state. Below these references in the upper right is an attractive family tree of the English royal family from William the Conqueror. The map itself is derived from the Anonymous map printed in London 1594 which itself is derived from that of Jodocus Hondius of 1592. The engravers are believed to the Arsenius brothers who have produced a magnificent map, one of the finest ever produced for the atlas. Its desirability along with the fact that it only appears in a handful of editions makes this one of the rarest. Van den Broecke (1996) M. no. 17; Shirley (1991) no. 275, see also 164 & 177; Kelly (2007).
Stock number: 9698

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