Clive A. Burden LTD. Rare Maps, Antique Atlases, Books and Decorative Prints

The Mapping of North America

Mr. Philip D. Burden‚Äč
P.O. Box 863,
Chalfont St. Giles, Bucks HP6 9HD,
Tel: +44 (0) 1494 76 33 13

The very rare FIRST STATE FIRST EDITION of Jan Jansson’s map of Somerset. By the 1630s the publication houses of Willem Blaeu (1571-1638)and Henricus Hondius (1597-1651) were in a race to produce ever more new maps of the world. Hondius, in partnership with Jan Jansson (1588-1664) began collecting plates of Britain for an impending volume of England. In 1636 they published an ‘Appendix’ to the ‘Atlas’ which included 17 maps, two of which were general ones. Unfortunately they were not ready in time for the English text edition published in 1636 and are only found in the German edition of that year. This marks the beginning of the race between the two houses to produce a separate volume devoted to England and Wales which Blaeu would win in 1645. In 1644 a further 11 maps were issued in a Dutch ‘Appendix’. Examples of maps from these early issues are very rare and highly desirable. The plates are often extensively altered for their ultimate issue in the completed work, the ‘Atlas Novus’ of 1646.

When compared to the rival Blaeu county maps, those of Jansson always appear more decorative. This map of Somerset, with German text to the verso is taken from the very first issue in 1636 according to the research of Peter van der Krogt. All so-called pre-issue Jansson county maps are rare and desirable. A comparison of the two states shows that the ornate title cartouche was entirely re-engraved in the lower left. In its place a series of coats of arms were added. Jansson was a very successful publisher who continued the business first founded by the great Gerard Mercator and subsequently taken over by the Hondius family. Koeman (1967-70) II ME 44 no. 411; Van der Krogt (1997-2003) 5235:1.1; Map Collectors Circle no. 34 Notes and Addenda pp. 16-18; Needell (1995) 56; Skelton (1970) no. 34, pp. 225-6.


Comitatus Somersettensis Somerest-Shire

Amsterdam, 1636
FIRST STATE FIRST EDITION. 385 x 505 mm., in good condition.
Stock number: 10917
£ 395
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