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Finely engraved pair of sheets depicting the Electors of the Holy Roman Empire, engraved by master engraver Antonie Wierix for Gerard De Jode in 1593.

The present example is the first edition, retaining De Jode's imprint at the bottom left of the lower sheet.

The engraving depicts the nobles entitled to choose German Emperors, as instituted to end the turmoil and quarreling that occurred after the death of Charles the Great, by Otto IV and the Pope. This plate shows left of the Emperor the highest ranking officials, three ecclesiastical and four lay dignitaries. The second rank consists of four dukes and four marquesses, the third of 8 earls, etc.

This engraving was published from 1593 for the first time in the atlas by Gerard de Jode. The plate was later acquired by Vrients and was then from 1603 onwards included in Ortelius's 'Theatrum' and the 'Parergon'. While the later Vrients/Ortelius plates appear with some frequency on the market, this first state bearing the names of De Jode and Wierix are quite rare on the market.

Gerard de Jode Biography

Gerard De Jode (1509-1591) was a pre-eminent mapmaker in the late seventeenth century, a time when the Dutch dominated the map trade. He was known for his many maps, some of which featured in Speculum Orbis Terrae (first edition Antwerp: 1578). Although never as successful as Ortelius’ Theatrum, the Speculum did get republished in a second edition in 1593, two years after De Jode’s death, by Arnold Coninx, and included this map. After his death, Gerard’s son, Cornelis (1568-1600), and his wife, Paschina, ran the shop. Unfortunately, Cornelis died young in 1600, aged only 32, and the stock and plates were sold to the publisher Joan Baptista Vrients.