Striking uncolored example of Blaeu's map of Africa. This map shows major African Cities across the top and indigeneous costumes along the sides. The body of the map is richly embellished with animals, including elephants, monkeys, ostriches, gazelles, lions, cheetahs and camels. In the oceans are numerous sailing ships, sea monsters, flying fish, and a goregous compass rose. An unusually dark rich impression. While most of Blaeu's atlases were issued uncolored, the proliferation of modern color examples on the market makes this an unusual opportunity to acquire a fine wide margined example of the map in its original uncolored state.
Willem Janszoon Blaeu (1571-1638) was a prominent Dutch geographer and publisher. Born the son of a herring merchant, Blaeu chose not fish but mathematics and astronomy for his focus. He studied with the famous Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, with whom he honed his instrument and globe making skills. Blaeu set up shop in Amsterdam, where he sold instruments and globes, published maps, and edited the works of intellectuals like Descartes and Hugo Grotius. In 1635, he released his atlas, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, sive, Atlas novus.
Willem died in 1638. He had two sons, Cornelis (1610-1648) and Joan (1596-1673). Joan trained as a lawyer, but joined his father’s business rather than practice. After his father’s death, the brothers took over their father’s shop and Joan took on his work as hydrographer to the Dutch East India Company. Later in life, Joan would modify and greatly expand his father’s Atlas novus, eventually releasing his masterpiece, the Atlas maior, between 1662 and 1672.