Nice old color example of the scarce Covens & Mortier edition of Barleus' map of a portion of Brazil, which first appeared in Barleus's from his ervm per Octennivm in Brasilia et alibi nuper gesterum sub Praefectura Illustrissimi Comitis I. Mavritii, Nassoviae, &c…published by Blaeu in 1647.
The Barleus edition of the maps appeared prior to the inclusion of the maps in Blaeu's Atlas Major and can be distinguished by the lack of text on the verso. The Covens & Mortier edition also typically lacks text.
This example extends from the Rio San Francisco to the Rio Gujaraigacu. This series of maps is one of the most coveted of all Brazilian maps from the 17th Century. Highly decorative and very scarce.
Covens & Mortier was one of the largest and most successful publishing firms in Dutch history and continued in business for over a century. Pierre Mortier the Elder (1661-1711) had obtained a privilege in 1690 to distribute the works of French geographers in the Netherlands. After his widow continued the business for several years, Cornelis (1699-1783) took over in 1719.
In 1721, Mortier forged a partnership with Johannes Covens (1697-1774), who had recently married Cornelis’ sister. They published under the joint name of Covens & Mortier. In 1774, upon the death of his father, Johannes Covens II (1722-1794) took over his father’s share. In 1778, the company changed its name to J. Covens & Zoon, or J. Covens & Son.
Covens II’s son, Cornelis (1764-1825), later inherited the business and brought Petrus Mortier IV back into the fold. Petrus was the great-grandson of Petrus Mortier I. From 1794, the business was called Mortier, Covens & Zoon, or Mortier, Covens, & Son.
The business specialized in publishing French geographers including Deslisle, Jaillot, Janssonius, and Sanson. They also published atlases, for example a 1725 reissue of Frederik de Wit’s Atlas Major and an atlas, with additions, from the works of Guillaume Delisle. There were also Covens & Mortier pocket atlases and town atlases. The company profited from acquiring plates from other geographers as well. For example, the purchased Pieter van der Aa’s plates in 1730. Finally, they also compiled a few maps in house. At their height, they had the largest collection of geographic prints ever assembled in Amsterdam.