Willem Jansz. Blaeu is one of the greatest Dutch cartographers of all time. It is little known that he began his atlas productions by publishing sea atlases. His first work was the ‘Het Licht der Zee-Vaert’ in 1608. “It is one of the most important Dutch pilot-guides rivalling and surpassing the ‘Thresoor der Zeevaaerdt’ of Lucas Waghenaer which was first published some sixteen years earlier and ceased with the issue of the ninth edition one year later in 1609” (Wardington). “In the history of early Dutch pilot guides Blaeu’s work takes a very prominent place” (Koeman). Blaeu was granted a privilege in ten years which expired in 1618. Two years later Jan Jansson published his own version in which the copper plates were engraved by Pieter van den Keere.
This particular chart extends from the Scilly Islands along the north coasts of Cornwall, Devon and Somerset displaying both Bristol and Gloucester. It then extends westwards along the south coast of Wales and even shows the entrance to Waterford, Ireland. The map is orientated roughly north west at the top to line up the Cornish peninsula’s coastline across the bottom of the chart. The sea is decorated with a ship, compass rose and fish. The title in Dutch is repeated in French. Provenance: private English collection. Koeman IV pp. 27-34 M. Bl. 1, no. 18; Shirley (2004) refer M.Bla 1a; Skelton (1964b).