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Fine old color example of this very rare edition of Isaak Tirion's map of the World, published in Amsterdam by Mortier, Coven en Zoon (Mortier, Covens & Son).

The present edition has been revised following the completion of the Voyages of Captain James Cook, adding more complete coastal outlines for Australia and New Zealand, along with the Alaska and the Northwest Coast of California.

Perhaps the most fascinating element of the map is the curious coastline of California, which seems to revert to the Sanson model of California as an Island for the upper portion of the map, where the tell-tale two fingers are sticking upwards to the North, whereas the rest of the map is consistent with the post-De L'Isle mapping of the West Coast employed by Tirion in the earlier editions of the map.

This is one of the only maps we have ever seen published by the late heirs of the Covens & Mortier map publishing business.

This edition is very rare. We were not able to locate another example in a dealer catalogue.

Mortier, Covens & Zoon 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. Johannes continued to work with Cornelis’ heirs after his death. 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.