Fine example of De Jode's map of Prussia, from the 1593 edition of De Jode's atlas.
The present map is an entirely new addition to the second De Jode atlas, the Speculum Orbis Terrae (1593). The geography is based on Caspar Henneberger's groundbreaking 1576 woodcut map of Prussia. The map extends from Gdansk (Danzig) in the west to Lithuania in the east, and De Jode employs an especially vibrant engraving style to express northeastern Poland's numerous forests, lakes and rivers.
Gerard De Jode (1521-91) created some of the most geographically progressive and beautifully engraved maps of the 16th-century. Born in Nijmegen, he made his way to the great commercial center of Antwerp, where his joined the Guild of St. Luke in 1547. In 1564, he printed Abraham Ortelius' famous eight-sheet cordiform World map. Inspired by the success of Ortelius' Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (1570), De Jode set out to produce his own atlas. However, Ortelius used his extensive political connections to ensure that De Jode's efforts were obstructed, for his grant of a royal publishing privilege was delayed for 5 years. Finally, in 1578, De Jode published his magnificent 2-volume atlas, the Speculm Orbis Terrarum. De Jode's maps were based on the very best geographic sources, and employed artistically virtuous design rendered with the highest standards of engraving. In many respects, his maps were considered to be of superior quality to Ortelius' works.
Gerard De Jode endeavored to publish an expanded second edition of this atlas, the Speculum Orbis Terrae, however he died before it could be brought to completion. His son, Cornelis De Jode (1558-1600) finished and published the work in 1593. Unfortunately, while the quality of the maps it contained was superb, in part due to Ortelius' continued interference, the atlas did not meet with commercial success, and few copies were ever issued.
De Jode's maps are highly prized by collectors and are scarce on the market.