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VISSCHER, Nicolas

Atlas Minor sive Geographia Compendiosa

Visscher [but Elizabeth Verseyl], Amsterdam, c.1712
Folio (540 x 350 mm.), contemporary Dutch vellum gilt in a panelled design with central royal arms of Holland, incorporating initials ‘PPP’ (‘Pugno Pro Patria’) and armillary sphere cornerpieces. With engraved allegorical title, letterpress title, 101 double-page engraved maps, 14 of which are folding, all full wash coloured by a contemporary hand, occasional short tears, creasing and marginal strengthening, small hole at fold in Borussiae, otherwise in good condition.
A Dutch composite atlas assembled by Nicolaas Visscher II (1649-1702). He inherited the shop of his father of the same name upon his death in 1679. The following year he married Elizabeth Verseyl of Gouda. In 1682 he applied to the States of Holland and West Friesland for a patent for printing and publishing maps, it was granted the same year. He promptly printed a catalogue of his available maps. A comparison with his father’s earlier catalogue dating from no later than 1677 illustrates many new maps. One may speculate that these were largely at the hand of the son. Certainly, this map centred on the West Indies is one that we could quite confidently date to c.1680 as it lacks the privilege granted in 1682. From about 1683 he began publishing the ‘Atlas Minor’.

This atlas consisting of 101 maps and plates dates within the period 1710-15. By this time Visscher was dead and the business was being continued successfully by his widow Elizabeth Verseyl. Sixty-eight maps are by Visscher with 10 including the world and four continents are by Carol Allard. The world map is dated to 1696 by Shirley. The stock of Frederick de Wit who died in 1706 was sold to Pierre Mortier in the spring of 1710. There are 4 with the imprint of De Wit only, 6 with the additional imprint of Pierre Mortier and 1 very rare map with the imprint of Christopher Browne of England. Five plates are by Johann Baptiste Homann, all printed before his privilege granted in 1715.

The one plate by Joan Blaeu was never published in his atlases. It was acquired by Pieter Schenk in 1694 who continued to publish it without his own imprint. The original engravers imprint however, is removed. One final map is by Jacob de la Feuille and covers the region of the River Danube. De la Feuille met an ignominious end. In 1697 ‘he was brough to court upon the accusation of having raped his housemaid. In 1711, a notary act registers the complaint of his wife that her husband has left her five years ago in very poor state and that his whereabouts is unknown’ (Koeman).

Of further interest is the engraved title ‘designed and engraved by the famous artists, Gerard de Lairesse’ (Koeman). The fine vellum binding bearing the initials PPP, ‘Pugno Pro Patria’, which is the motto of the Admiralty of Rotterdam. Provenance: manuscript inscription on upper corner of front free endpaper; Sotheby’s 17 November 2021 lot 184. Burden (2007) nos. 531, 724 & 731; Koeman (1967-70) vol. 3 pp. 107-10, 150-5; Shirley (1984) 578.
Stock number: 10432

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