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The Mapping of North America

Mr. Philip D. Burden​
P.O. Box 863,
Chalfont St. Giles, Bucks HP6 9HD,
UNITED KINGDOM
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BERTIUS, Petrus

Thresor de Chartes, contenant les Tableaux de tous les Pays du Monde…

Matthias Becker for Henry Laurentz, Frankfurt am Main, [1609]
Oblong octavo (125 x 185 mm.) full contemporary vellum, light wear, ‘Cartes’ in manuscript on spine. Typographic title page with engraved vignette, pp. (16), 496, 202, (6), a plate of Magellan’s ship ‘Victoria’ and 175 miniature engraved maps by Pieter van den Keere, Jodocus Hondius, Benjamin Wright and possibly Johan. van Doetichum, slight browning as usual.
This series of plates by Barent Langenes was first published by Cornelis Claesz for the ‘Caert-Thresoor’ in 1598. They are executed by some of the finest engravers of the day including Pieter van den Keere and Jodocus Hondius. Scholars like Petrus Bertius ans Jacobus Viverius edited the text. The small maps are extremely well engraved, they are neat and clear and elegantly composed. ‘It sets a new standard for minor atlases. The small maps are extremely well engraved: neat and clear, elegantly composed’ (Koeman). They reflect the very latest knowledge which at the time the Dutch were most privileged to. This is particularly notable in those depicting the arctic waters as both Dutch and English explorers were extensively searching for new routes to China. They were regarded well enough for them to be utilised in as many as nine further works according to one early scholar.

‘This small book had a complicated publication history and was clearly very popular in its day. Little is known about Langenes, and his association with the atlas is not fully understood. He was a printer in the town of Middelburg, the capital of the province of Zeeland. This atlas was brought out at a time of increasing competition for the pocket-sized atlas market. Not only was the miniature Ortelius, ‘Spieghel der Werelt’, first published in 1577, still being sold, but in this year of 1598, an Italian version of it was also first published in Brescia. At the same time Zacharias Heyns was publishing his ‘Le Miroir Du Monde’ in Amsterdam; within a decade, others would follow.

In 1609 a Dutch text edition had been published by Cornelis Claesz. In this same year he died and his successor Henry Laurentz oversaw the printing of this French edition in Frankfurt by Matthias Becker. As such its publication date might be later. ‘Petrus Bertius (1565 1629) was the librarian of the University of Leyden and was a relative of both van den Keere and Hondius. He wrote a completely new text for which the Langenes plates were used in 1600. This was a reversion to normal practice, because in the Langenes editions the text was specifically written for the maps. Cornelis Claesz was the publisher of both the Langenes and the Bertius series until his death in 1609 when they were continued by his successor Henry Laurentz’ (Burden). Provenance: Ink stamp on verso of title page with a motto: ‘Torant Muni Dor’. Reference: Burden ‘The Mapping of North America’ no. 92; Koeman ‘Atlantes Neerlandici’ I p. 61, II Lan 9 pp. 252-8; Van der Krogt IIIA 341.13; Phillips, Atlases 428.
Stock number: 10014

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