Rare Van Keulen "Secret Atlas" Chart of Iceland
Rare chart of Iceland, from Van Keulen's secret atlas.
The chart is partially dated (17xx), but was probably made sometime soon after 1750. The Western Fiords are shown as two peninsulas, one pointing west and the other north, and the coastline is crudely illustrated.
The VOC Secret Atlas
The so-called "Secret Atlas" of the Dutch East India Company was, in fact, Part VI of the Zee-Fakkel, published by Johannes (II) Van Keulen, from 1753. For the first 150 years of the Company's history, the VOC had resisted producing printed sea charts of the area east of South Africa, which the VOC saw as their proprietary region. By keeping these charts secret, the best available navigational information and coastal details would remain proprietary. To this end, manuscript charts were produced with proprietary information by the likes of Isaak de Graaf.
The Secret Atlas (Volume VI of the Zee-Fakkel), like the VOC manuscript maps before it, was never offered for sale to the public and was only issued to VOC ships, with explicit instructions that the charts must be returned at the completion of each voyage.
The chart is rare on the market. We locate no auction or dealer records in AMPR.