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    Blaeu's America, Complete with Twenty-Three Hand-Colored Maps from "The Greatest and Finest Atlas Ever Published" (Koemann)

    Joan Blaeu. America, Quæ Est Geographiæ Blavianæ Pars Quinta: Liber Unus. Volumen Unidecimum. Amsterdam: Ioannis Bleau, 1662.

    First edition of the eleventh and final volume of Blaeu's Atlas Major. Folio (20.75 x 12.875 inches; 522 x 326 mm). [2, blank], [1, title], [1, blank], 1-19, [2], 20-287, [1, blank], [2, index], [2, blank] pages. Complete with twenty-three double-page maps, all of which are beautifully hand-colored. Title-page with a hand-colored vignette.

    Contemporary full speckled calf, spine elaborately stamped and lettered in gilt. Internally very clean with maps brightly colored. Boards slightly rubbed. Outer hinges along the head and tail of the spine cracked but firm. Head and tail of the spine worn, with some minor bits of loss. Previous owner's stamp on blank verso of the title-page. Some very minor worming to top margin from front free endpaper through 2Q1. Index leaf with a crease and some light dampstaining. Overall, a very good copy of this beautiful volume.

    A magnificently handsome volume from the work that Dutch cartographer and bibliographer H. de la Fontaine Verwey once called "the greatest and finest atlas ever published" (cited in Koemann, I, 199).

    In 1596 Willem Janzoon Blaeu (1571-1638) founded the Blaeu family firm, and with the collaboration of sons, Cornelius (1616-1648) and Joan (1596-1673), it became the most productive cartographic establishment in the Netherlands for most of the seventeenth century. In 1633 the Dutch East India Company made Willem Blaeu its official mapmaker, granting the Blaeus unique access to the latest geographical information. From this development (and owing to a competition in atlas production with the rival firm headed by Johannes Janssonius, son-in-law and successor of Jodocus Hondius, publisher of the first Mercator-Hondius atlas in 1606), sprang a series of atlases that culminated in the Atlas Major, in which Joan Blaeu incorporated and expanded upon much of the cartographic knowledge compiled by his father. The foremost product of what is known as the "Golden Age" of Dutch cartography, Blaeu's Atlas Major is by most accounts unequalled in the history of mapmaking.

    Published in several different languages at the end of the seventeenth century, Dr. Joan Blaeu's monumental Major Atlas was popular from the first, and even a cursory examination of any one of the work's eleven volumes reveals why: meticulously researched and encyclopedically comprehensive, in addition to being an exemplar of modern cartography, the Atlas major is also a masterpiece of book design, with remarkably high production standards. The illustrations and nearly six-hundred folio maps are the result of accomplished engravings on paper of the highest quality, vivid and expert hand coloring, and Baroque design elements which coalesce in what are arguably many of the finest maps ever produced, famous for their attention to detail as much as their lavish decorative elements. For all of these reasons, in the latter half of the seventeenth century the Republic of the United Netherlands made an official gift of Blaeu's Atlas Major to royalty, diplomats, and dignitaries, including the Sultan of Turkey, who received his copy in 1668. Not surprisingly, this sumptuous work remains one of the most prized and highly sought illustrated books of the period.

    In addition to its impressive scope, accuracy, and artistic preeminence, owing to its location at the leading edge of geographical knowledge and discovery, the Atlas Major also occupies a special place in cartographic history. The twenty-three maps of America -- including the justly famous general map of the continent with pictorial side panels -- were among the first accurate maps of the continent produced and contained the first version of John Smith's map of Virginia to be published in Europe. It is not hyperbole to suggest that this atlas of America helped to shape contemporary European views of this part of the world more than any other source.

    The maps in this volume are as follows: 1. Americæ nova Tabula -- 2. Extrama Americæ versus Boream, ubi Terra Nova, Nova Francia, Adjacenticg -- 3. Nova Belgica et Anglia Nova -- 4. Nova Virginiæ Tabula -- 5. Virginiæ partis australis, et Floridæ partis orientalis, interjacentiumq regionum nova Descriptio. -- 6. Nova Hispanica et Nova Galicia -- 7. Yucatan Conventus luridici Hispaniæ Novæ Pars Occidentalis , et Guatimala conventus luridicus -- 8. Insulæ Americanæ in Oceano Septentrionali cum Terris adiacentibus -- 9. Canibales Insulæ -- 10. Mappa Æstivarum Insularum . -- 11. Terra Firma et Novum Regnum Granatense et Popayan -- 12. Peru -- 13. Chili -- 14. Tabula Magellanica ... -- 15. Paraquaria vulgo Paraguay cum adjacentibus -- 16. Brasilia -- 17. Sinus Ominum Sanctoru -- 18. Præfectura De Ciriii val Seregippe Delrey cum Itapuåma -- 19. Præfecturæ Paranambucæ Pars Borealis, una cum Præfectura de Itamaraca -- 20. Præfecturæ Paranambucæ Pars Meridionalis -- 21. Præfecturæ de Paraiba, et Rio Grande -- 22. Guiana fiue Amazonum Regio -- 23. Venezuela cum parte Australi Novæ Andalusiæ

    Phillips, Atlases, 3430.

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