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An attractive antique map showing Norway and parts of Sweden from Oslo ["Christian"] through Trondheim and into Lapland. The map names many cities, towns, islands, lakes and more. A decorative title cartouche is included, showing the naval focus of this kingdom alongside its untamed wilderness. This is adorned with the coat of arms of Norway.

The squat projection of Norway is typical for maps of this time, as accurate mapping of this peninsula was difficult. The southern portion, which is most densely populated, is mapped in detail, while the northern portion is reduced in length and much less labeled. An interesting inclusion is that of the Maal Stroom islands, where "one can only voyage to in the calmest of weather." This archipelago has no modern analog, with Lofoten being the only possible stand-in. In old Norwegian, the name of these islands translates to "the end of the flow."

This map is nearly identical to van der Aa's 1713 map of the same region, with only the attribution line changed. If one looks very closely above the final two lines of the cartouche, one can see faint lettering from this previous state. Above Mortier, "DER Aa" is still legible. This reflects the nature of the trade at the time, when plates were passed and sold from one engraver to the next.

Covens and Mortier was an Amsterdam publishing company that was in business from 1721 to 1866. Pierre Mortier (1661-1711) was an engraver and mapmaker born in Leiden, where van der Aa first printed this map. Mortier was in Paris from 1681 to 1685 and secured the right to publish French maps in Amsterdam. His son, Cornelis (1699-1783), joined forces with Johannes Covens I (1697-1774). The partnership accumulated a huge reserve of maps to sell from Johannes Janssonius, Guillaume De L'Isle, and, of course, Pieter van der Aa, which they reissued frequently.

Condition Description
Old hand-color. Very minor toning along top-center.
Covens & Mortier 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. 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.