A large engraved wall map of Europe (118.5 x 166.5 cm), with the map image itself on 4 large sheets (together 84 x 111 cm) with a decorative border at its foot and the two sides, and 4 cartouches, 1 with the second title “Europa.” Around the map within a second decorative border are 16 engraved costume prints (8 on each side) and 12 engraved city views (across the foot), including city maps in the form of bird’s-eye views. The whole is surrounded by a Latin letterpress description of Europe (“Nova Europa: Descriptio”) with 5 woodcut illustrations, 1 decorative woodcut initial letter, 1 woodcut headpiece and a band built up of cast fleurons. The main title is printed on separate engraved slips running across the head of the whole assembled map with text. With the illustrative material (views, costume prints, woodcuts, ships in the sea, etc.) as well as the compass roses and decorations partly coloured by a contemporary hand. Backed with modern cloth and hung on modern wooden rollers copied from those of a 1621 Blaeu wall map in a ca 1663 Vermeer painting. Hung in a vertical perspex display case. Only two other copies of any edition (one of 1612 and one of 1624) are known to survive complete with the map, border illustrations and texts.
Etremely Rare Wall Map of Europe, engraved 1608 in an unrecorded 3rd edition published ca. 1620
An unrecorded early edition of Blaeu’s extremely rare great wall map of Europe, preceded only by editions printed from the same plates in I608 (Z copies known according to Schilder, comprising the 4 map sheets only) and I612 (I copy known). The copperplates in these three editions and the next known edition (published by Henricus Hondius in I624) are all in their first state, but the maps differ in the setting of the letterpress text and decorations.
The map covers Europe, Turkey and the entire Mediterranean Sea at a scale of about I:6, (000,000. Four large decorated cartouches give the second title “I-Iuropa“(with the rest of the text area blank), the I608 privilege, and notes on the calculation of distances and on the choice of the prime meridian through Tenerife, this last with a small world map in two hemispheres and a blank text area perhaps left for a dedication. The map is in a stereographic projection, with reticulated scales of longitude and latitude in the borders, a grid of parallels and meridians, and in the seas rhumb lines with five compass roses. The meridians bow only slightly outward and would meet at the north pole about thirty-five centimeters above the top of the map, making it look almost like an equidistant conical projection.
The present edition probably dates between I617 and I614. All that survives of the imprint is the first word, “;\mstelodami,“ but a search for the woodcut initial E and the types in Blaeu and Hondius publications may provide clues to identify the publisher (Blaeu had his own letterpress printing office in this period, but Hondius probably farmed out his letterpress printing). Only six other copies are known of any edition of this map (none in the Netherlands), three with only the map sheets and another lacking the title slip and letterpress text, leaving only two with the entire assembly as in the present copy. Schilder notes six “states,“ but did not know the present copy, which therefore represents the third of seven editions from I608 to post- 1655. Schilder lists two copies under I608, but since they comprise only the map sheets, and since the rst four editions (I608 to I624) all have these sheets in their first states, the dating of these copies may require a thorough study of the watermarks.
No copy of the sixth edition (ca. I644?) is known, while each of the remaining live editions
is known from a unique surviving copy: the I612 Blaeu edition (complete) at the Sachsisches Hauptstaatarchiv in Dresden; the present ca. I620 edition (complete); the I624 Hondius edition (complete) at the Herzogin Anna Amalia-Bibliothek in Weimar; the I655 Visscher edition (map sheets only) at the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris; and the post—I655 Visscher edition (lacking the title slip and letterpress text) also at the Bibliotheque Nationale.
A unique early edition of one of BIaeu‘s greatest wall maps, including all thirty-three marginal views and illustrations,and the letterpress descriptive text.