The De Jode Magnum Opus. One of the Great Rarities of 16th-Century Mapmaking.
Full original hand-color example of the de Jode family's cartographic masterpiece, the 1593 edition of Speculum Orbis Terrae. Containing one hundred and nine maps on eighty-three plates, this two-volume atlas represents over twenty-five years of work shared between two generations of the de Jode family.
This is the expanded second edition of the atlas first issued by Gerard de Jode in 1578, under the title Speculum Orbis Terrarum (Mirror onto the World). The present work was substantially expanded by Gerard in the later years of his life, and, after he died in 1591, the project was taken over and brought to completion by his son, Cornelis De Jode.
The Speculum cannot be discussed without its great rival, Ortelius's Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, first published in 1570. De Jode's work, though conceived very near in time to Ortelius's, languished unpublished for some years, which scholars have ascribed to political machinations by the author of the Theatrum. By the time it was finally brought to market, it could not hope to rival the Terrarum, which had already been published in four languages and many editions. Records show few sales for either the first or the second edition, and the early death of Cornelis along with the eventual sale of the copper plates to the Vrients publishing house--who were keen to suppress any competition to the Ortelius plates they had also acquired--put the De Jode family's lifetime achievement to permanent rest. This leads to the book's incredible rarity when compared to Ortelius's.
Contrary to Ortelius's single-volume work, the Speculum appears as a set of two books. De Jode opens the 1593 first book with a representation of the known world, including two world maps and three portrayals of the Americas. It proceeds to cover the rest of the world and large parts of Europe. Book two, which contains the majority of the maps, focuses on northern Europe where de Jode's cartographic sources were most detailed. For the most part, the structure evident is the reverse of Ortelius's, who, after introducing the four continents, focuses exclusively on Europe until the latter half of the text.
Scholarly and historical comparison between the Speculum and the Theatrum varies. The great cartographers of the late 16th- and early 17th-century, including Montanus, van den Keere, and von Aitzing used both as sources, and Hondius compared the former work favorably against the latter. Later scholarly review notes less consistency in the cartography in de Jode's work, particularly in some of the Germanic regions, although the craftsmanship of the engraving is praised.
De Jode's work today remains a poignant reminder that successful early publishing required not only the ability to create maps that could excite the imagination, but also the ability to control the market and play the role of the politician.
The Origins of the Speculum, the Ortelius - De Jode Rivalry, and Eventual Suppression
De Jode first received his printer's license in 1550, at the height of Antwerp's commercial supremacy over the rest of Europe. Home to the first bourse in Europe, as well as the all-powerful Scheldt River, the level and diversity of trade conducted in the city was unmatched in the mid-16th century.
The tradesmen who ran the city had need for regional and international wall maps, which served to decorate their offices and allowed them an understanding of the remoter parts of the world. De Jode would be one of the first to rise up to meet this demand, producing a wall map of the world in 1555, copied from Gastaldi. He started producing original works in 1560 with his wall map of Europe, which he published in collaboration with Bernardus Musinus. Four years later, he worked with Ortelius to engrave the latter's first cartographic product, an eight-sheet cordiform wall map of the world.
This 1564 collaboration is the last evidence that the two printers worked together. That same year, Ortelius started reducing maps into atlas format, which is the earliest evidence for his work on the Theatrum, and after this, he showed a single-minded focus on dominating the cartographic market. It is likely that Ortelius cut ties with de Jode in order to achieve this end.
It was about this time as well that de Jode also conceived of the idea of binding a book with maps with text on the verso--in short, an atlas. By 1567, he had some plates for his atlas ready and was producing separately-issued maps for sale, available at the bookseller Plantin's shop. De Jode received ecclesiastical privilege, at least for book two, in 1573, but imperial privilege took another two years and royal privilege yet another two. Ortelius's many connections, especially with the Spanish rulers of the low countries, would have helped in delaying the granting of this right to publish until just before Ortelius's own privilege expired in 1577.
De Jode used these extra four years to his advantage, incorporating many of Ortelius's own maps into his work. It was finished in 1578 and finally available in 1579 at various stores including Plantin's. Despite being half the price of the Theatrum, the seven years' advantage of the latter could not be surpassed and de Jode's sold poorly.
The 1593 Edition
Gerard de Jode continued to produce maps until his death in 1591 with the intent to produce an updated edition. His son, Cornelis de Jode, would complete the project in 1593, substantially enlarging the work by adding nineteen new plates.
We do not know why the extensive delay between a first and second edition occurred. Most likely, it was driven by poor sales in the first edition, although some scholars have attributed a 1588 payment of a substantial sum--288 florins--by Ortelius to de Jode as a pay-off for holding back competition. Whatever the reason, the second edition proved little more successful than the first.
After publication, Cornelis appears to have been less interested in engraving than his father was and turned to writing books and other scholarly pursuits. By the time he died in 1600, he was extensively traveled, having visited Iceland, Norway, Denmark, France, and Spain.
Following Cornelis's death, the plates were purchased by Johann Baptiste Vrients, who had also acquired the Ortelius plates. Vrients kept the plates without printing them, ostensibly to prevent any further competition to later editions of the Theatrum. Both sets of plates then passed to the Moretus publishing house, who published the only known reissue of any of de Jode's plates, an updated world map. This proved the end of the plates and their long history of suppression.
The atlas contains two books, each with their own title page. Book one opens with an allegorical title page one which the four continents are represented in animal form. It continues with a mathematical preface, introducing the concepts needed to understand how two-dimensional projections are used to make maps. It then proceeds to describe the known world in 34 maps. Maps 1 and 2 in this book are De Jode's world maps, the first of which is on Mercator's projection and the second of which is on a recognizable double polar hemisphere projection. These world maps include an important 16th-century treatment of North America, an archipelagic Japan, four arctic islands (without mention of pygmies), and a remarkably Greenland-shaped Terra Incognita Australis.
Maps 3 to 7 cover four of the continents, excluding North America but including a treatment of the northern coast of Africa. Maps 8-10 show Asia in three parts, and 11-12 show North America, with a fantastic map focusing on the west coast of America. "Quivira Regnu" and "Circulus Anian Reg." are shown with remarkable mythical detail, with dozens of place names, fabulous ships, and two sea monsters. The Holy Land, ancient and modern, appears in maps 13-14, before a treatement of southern and western Europe in maps 15-33. The volume concludes its final map with a treatment of China, Japan, and Siberia, with a great many decorative elements.
Volume II turns its attention towards the Germanic parts of northern Europe. Opening with a title page showing the Holy Roman Empire and two sheets dedicated to showing a personification of each member state, maps 35 to 83 show many regions in and around Germany, the Low Countries, and Scandanavia.
De Jode's atlas was engraved in a substantial portion by himself. De Jode's largest partner appears to have been David Cellarius, who was partly responsible for the execution of the work and signs a dedicatory epistle at the front of the text. Many engravers were employed, foremost among them the brothers Jan and Lucas van Deutecum, as well as the "engineer-geographer" Jan van Schille, all three of whom also worked with Ortelius.
- Totius Orbis Cogniti Universalis Descriptio
- Hemispheriu Ab Aequinoctiali Linea. . .
- Brasilia et Peruvia
- Africae Vera Forma et Situs
- Barbaria pars Apricae. . .
- Asia, Partium Orbis Maxima
- Nova Totius Europae Tabula
- Primae Partis Asiae
- Secundae Partis Asiae
- Tertiae Partis Asiae
- Americae Pars Borealis, Florida, Baccalaos, Canada, Corterealis
- Quivirae Regnu [with] Novae Guineae Forma & Situs
- Terrae Sanctae. . .
- Descriptio et Situs Terrae Sanctae alio Nomine Palestina. . .
- Turcia Turcicive Imperii
- Vidibis totius GReciae limites divisos per motes. . .
- Sicilia Insula Maris [with] Cyprus Insula Maris Syriaci [with] Corsica Olim Cyrnus Insula [with] Candia, Olimaeria [with] Maiorica et Minorica. . . [with] Melita Africi. . . [and] Mitylene Aegei Maris. . .
- Italiae Totius Orbis. . .
- Neapolitani Regni
- Paduani Agrieius Que Urbium [with] Urbis Romane Territorium. . .
- Fori Iulii Quam Friul Vocant Histriaeq [with] Tusciae Insignis Italiae
- Marcae Anconitanae. . . [with] Parmae Ac Plaisantiae Amoenissimi Ducatus
- Galliae Amplissimi Regni tabula
- Biturigum . . . [with] Pedemontane. . .
- Comitatus Burgandiaecum Magna Parte Ducatus. . .
- Typus Corographicus Veromanduae partis Galliae Belgicae [with] Sabaudiae Ducatus, Sev Narbonensis Galliae. . .
- Limaniae Topographia [with] Boloniensium Ditionis et Caletensium Exacta descript
- Exacta Novaque Descriptio Ducatus Andegauensisquem Uulgari. . .
- Nova et Integra Caenomaniae Descriptio
- Nova Descriptio Hispaniae
- Portugulliae Quae Olim Lusitania Vernando . . .
- Angliae Scotiae et Hibernie Nova Descriptio
- Comitatus Venayscinensis Nova Descriptio [with] Nova et Exac tissima Descriptio
- China Regnum
- [The Holy Roman Emporers; Two Plates] Ordines Sacri Romani Imp: Ab Ottone . . .
- Germaniae Totius, Nostrae Europae Celeberrimae Regionis. . .
- Septentrionaliu Regionum Suetae Gothiae Noruegiae Daniae
- Danorum Marchiae seu Cimbrici. . . [with] Chorographica Ducatuum Holsatiae Schleswicae. . .
- Prussiae Regionis Sarmatiae Europae Nobibilissimae. . .
- Pomeraniae . . . [with] Thietmarsorum Simbricae Chersonesi. . .
- Saxonum Regionis Quatenus. . .
- Saltzburgensis Episcopatus [with] Trevirensis Episcopatus. . .
- Livoniae Provinciae ac Eius [with] Moscoviae Maximi Amplissimi. . .
- Helvetiae seu Suiciae. . .
- Poloniae Amplissimi Regni. . .
- Sueviae utrius q cum Germanicae tum Rheticae. . .
- Chorographia Insignis Regni Bohemiae
- Valesiae Provinciae Montanae . . . [with] Basile Ae Inclytae. . .
- Maravaniae seu Moraviae Marchionatus
- Bavariae Utriusquecum Inferioris. . .
- Silesiae Ducatus Typice [with] Ducatus Oswieczime et Zatoriesis
- Wirtenbergensis Ducatus Elegans delineatio [with] Palatinatus Superioris seu Bavariae . . .
- Hungariae Totius uti ex Compluribus. . .
- Nova Exactissima Que Descriptio Danubii
- Austriae Ducatus seu Pannoniae. . .
- [The Balkans]
- Seichzeibung des Erczherzgtumb. . .
- Turingiae Comitatus Provincialis [with] Misiniae Marchionatus
- Illirici seu Sclavoniae . . .
- Franconia, nobilissime Germaniae ducatus
- Croatiae & circumiacentiu Regionu. . .
- Palatinatus Rheni & . . .
- Stiraemarchiae Ducatus seu Tauris. . .
- Hessiae seu Cattorum Nobilissimorum ac Bellico Sissimorum
- Tirolensis Comitatus . . . [with] Carniolae Chaziolae Qe Ducatus. . .
- Tractus Rehnanus . . .
- [Inverted] accentio
- Inferioris Germaniae Pars
- Mansfeldiae Comitatus Diligens et Acuratus Typus [with] Clivensis et Iuliacensis Ducatum
- Reiterata Episcopatus Monastereinsis
- Waldeccensis Comitatus Nova Descriptio
- Lotharingia Ducatus
- Germaniae Inferior
- Episcopatus Leodiensis in se Continens Ducatu Bovillonensem. . .
- Frisiae Orientalis nova et exacta descriptio
- Frisiae Antiquissimae Trans. Rhenum Provinci. . .
- Holladiae Integra Comita Descript
- Zelandia Inferoris Germaniae pars magno. . .
- Brabantiae Belgarum Provinciae Recens Exacta Que Descriptio
- Exactissima Flandriae Descriptio
- Artois Atgrebatum regionis vera descriptio
- Hannoniae Comitatus Descriptio
The sporadic printing history and poor sales of the Speculum cause it to be a very rare item today. The relatively sparse extant records kept by De Jode (compared to Ortelius's exhaustive records) mean that knowledge of the exact number of examples issued can not be precisely known. However, based on the scarcity of surviving and broken examples, it can be estimated that each issue of the Speculum would have been comparable to a small Theatrum issue, with about a hundred or so examples likely produced for both the 1578 and 1593 editions. A complete census conducted by Fernand van Ortroy lists 8 examples of the first edition and 14 examples of the second edition in Europe at the start of the 20th century. While the number of examples recorded has increased over the last hundred years, no complete census has been drawn and the number remains very low. Only nine examples of the second edition appear in OCLC. Van Der Krogt's census in the New Atlantes Neerlandici records only four examples of the 1593 in America.
Examples on the market are of an incredible rarity. RBH records two examples changing hands in the last seventy years, with the last example selling in the Wardington Sale at Sotheby's, London, for £232,000 in 2005.
Koeman, 2003. Cartographica Neerlandica. Volume III.
Cornelis Koeman, Gunter Schilder, Marco van Egmond, and Peter van der Krogt, 2007. “Commercial Cartography and Map Production in the Low Countries, 1500-ca. 1672.”
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.