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Stock# 101528

With Hondius Map of Asia

One of 26 Examples in Full Vellum

A beautiful and elegant production, this is one of the only leaf books to include an original early map. This example with a nicely colored example of Jodocus Hondius's updated and improved map of Asia, which first appeared in the 1606 edition of the Mercator Hondius Atlas Sive Cosmographia. The present example is from the 1619 edition of the world atlas.

Hondius' map provides a magnificent early 17th century depiction of southeast Asia and the eastern Pacific, naming the Oceanus Orientalis, and Pars Oceanus Maris Pacifici, and including New Guinea. The map is embellished with sailing ships and monsters on a classically engraved Hondius style sea. Korea is now shown as an island, and the outlines of Ceylon and Borneo are improved from earlier maps.

The text of the book is by noted map expert Norman J. W. Thrower (1919-2020), professor of geography at UCLA. Thrower describes the careers of Gerard Mercator and Jodocus Hondius, and their successors, and gives an account of the publishing history of the Mercator-Hondius world atlas.

...the earliest leaf book to incorporate an original large double-page map is this 1985 publication by the California antiquarian bookselling and publishing firm Stone & Lorson... The physical production of this leaf book is superb, from the design by Vance Gerry to the press work of Patrick Reagh - Disbound & Dispersed.

One of only 26 deluxe examples, bound in full vellum. The total edition comprised 115 copies, with most copies in quarter vellum.

Condition Description
Tall folio. Full vellum. Gilt title on spine. Gilt arabesque on front and back cover. In a cloth slipcase. Condition is fine. With original Hondius map of Asia. [8],23 pages plus colophon leaf. With the July 1985 issue of the Book Collector's Ephemeron laid in, describing the present work and two copies of a nicely printed keepsake issued to commemorate Thrower's presentation to the Book Collectors of Los Angeles on July 17, 1985.
de Hamel & Silver, Disbound and Dispersed, the Leaf Book Considered (Caxton Club), 37.
Jodocus Hondius Biography

Jodocus Hondius the Elder (1563-1612), or Joost de Hondt, was one of the most prominent geographers and engravers of his time. His work did much to establish Amsterdam as the center of cartographic publishing in the seventeenth century. Born in Wakken but raised in Ghent, the young Jodocus worked as an engraver, instrument maker, and globe maker.

Hondius moved to London in 1584, fleeing religious persecution in Flanders. There, he worked for Richard Hakluyt and Edward Wright, among others. Hondius also engraved the globe gores for Emery Molyneux’s pair of globes in 1592; Wright plotted the coastlines. His engraving and nautical painting skills introduced him to an elite group of geographic knowledge seekers and producers, including the navigators Drake, Thomas Cavendish, and Walter Raleigh, as well as engravers like Theodor De Bry and Augustine Ryther. This network gave Hondius access to manuscript charts and descriptions which he then translated into engraved maps.

In 1593 Hondius returned to Amsterdam, where he lived for the rest of his life. Hondius worked in partnership with Cornelis Claesz, a publisher, and maintained his ties to contacts in Europe and England. For example, from 1605 to 1610, Hondius engraved the plates for John Speed’s Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine.

One of Hondius’ most successful commercial ventures was the reprinting of Mercator’s atlas. When he acquired the Mercator plates, he added 36 maps, many engraved by him, and released the atlas under Mercator’s name, helping to solidify Mercator’s reputation posthumously. Hondius died in 1612, at only 48 years of age, after which time his son of the same name and another son, Henricus, took over the business, including the reissuing of the Mercator atlas. After 1633, Hondius the Elder’s son-in-law, Johannes Janssonius, was also listed as a co-publisher for the atlas.

Gerard Mercator Biography

Gerard Mercator is one of the most famous cartographers of all time. Mercator was born in Flanders and educated at the Catholic University in Leuven. After his graduation in 1532, Mercator worked with Gemma Frisius, a prominent mathematician, and Gaspar a Myrica, a goldsmith and engraver. Together, these men produced globes and scientific instruments, allowing Mercator to hone his skills.

With his wife, Barbara, Mercator had six children: Arnold, Emerentia, Dorothes, Bartholomeus, Rumold, and Catharina.  In 1552, Mercator moved to Duisburg from Leuven, where he lived for the rest of his life. In 1564, he was appointed the official cosmographer to the court of Duke Wilhelm of Cleve.

Mercator’s most important contribution was the creation and popularization of a projection which now bears his name. On Mercator projection maps, all parallels and meridians are drawn at right angles to each other, with the distance between the parallels extending towards the poles. This allowed for accurate latitude and longitude calculation and also allowed navigational routes to be drawn using straight lines, a huge advantage for sailors as this allowed them to plot courses without constant recourse to adjusting compass readings.

Mercator’s other enduring contribution to cartography is the term “atlas”, which was first used to describe his collection of maps gathered in one volume. The Mercator atlas was published in 1595, a year after Mercator’s death, thanks to the work of his sons, particularly Rumold, and his grandsons.