Attractive wide margined example of Blaeu's plan of Moscow in full original color. Blaeu's plan of Moscow is quite scarce, having only been issued in the 1662 edition of the Atlas Maior. Despite its appearance in only the Major editions, it is believed to derive from work which predates the 1630s Atlas Appendix. The map apparently derives from original surveys prepared by order of Boris Fyodorovich Godunov (c.1551-1605), Tsar of Muscovy since 1598. The original plan did not survive, but is known to in a copy made 1610 for King Sigismund III of Poland. The plan as published by Blaeu, shows the old city which surrounds the Kremlin nd the 'Kitai Gorod' (or fortified city). The name Kremlin first appeared as Kreml' (or High Town) in an account of the fire in the town in 1331. It was founded in 1147 at the junction of two rivers, the Moskva and the Neglinnaya the latter forming a moat on the north and east flanks of the Kremlin. Blaeu's plan includes a list of the four quarters and a key to the major landmarks in each. Four inch margins and Latin text on the verso.
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.