Spectacular full color example of this highly decorative map of Britain embellished with ornate scenes depicting the Saxon Kingdoms, based upon Speed's map of 1611. The two sets of vignettes on either side of the map were first incorporated by Speed in his Heptarchy map of 1611 and show historical scenes in Saxon history between 456 and 662 A.D. The vignettes have been completely redone by a Dutch engraver and are in the grand style of contemporary Dutch paintings. The left border contains portraits of the earliest kings, while the right one depicts later kings in the process of conversion to Christianity. Included is a scene of Ethelbert receiving instruction from Saint Augustine and another of Sebert re-consecrating the temples of Diana and Apollo, now St. Paul's London and St. Peters, Westminster. The map shows England divided into the various Saxon kingdoms, each decorated with its coat of arms. The kings are shown with their escutcheons and forces, or townships. A fine example in full color, the finest example of the map we have ever had. Shirley, Early Printed Maps of the British Isles. 549.
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.