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Description

Rare re-issue of Vander Aa's map of Mexico and Central America, by Covens & Mortier.'

The map depicts the region of Mesoamerica, from South Texas to Costa Rica, crowded with place names and religious establishments.

A distinguished bibliophile and collector, van der Aa was one of the most successful publishers of his time, concentrating on books of voyages and discovery. This position enabled him to obtain a great deal of early information about America.

This map was issued in van der Aa's La Galerie Agréable du Monde (1729, 66 parts in 27 vols.), which Frederik Muller (Catalogue pt. 1, pp. 1-2) describes as a "stupendous publication contain[ing] above 3,000 plates and maps, many by the best Dutch engravers....

The present example is rare re-issue by Covens & Mortier, which we have never before seen on the market.

Covens & Mortier Biography

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.