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Stock# 90202

Blaeu Celebrates Tycho Brahe.

Volume one of the first French edition of the Atlas Maior, the greatest atlas ever produced.

The present volume contains the beautiful carte-a-figures map of Europe (Koeman II, 1000:2/a; Heijden Fig. p. 15), maps of the Arctic (including Iceland, North Pole, Nowaja Zemlya, and Spitsbergen), Norway and Denmark (together 22 double leaf size); also 17 double-page maps of Schleswig taken from Dankwerth's "Newer Landesbeschreibung" of 1652. Also noteworthy are the magnificent plates with plans, views, and instruments from Tycho Brahe's observatory on the island of Hven, where Willem Janszoon Blaeu had worked as Brahe's assistant for several years.

Condition Description
NOTE: Lacking the double-hemisphere world map. Folio. 18th-century speckled calf. Spine in seven compartments separated by raised bands, red morocco lettering pieces in the second and third, the others with elaborate gilt tooling. Engraved frontispiece ("Geographia Blaviana"), with the additional extraneous engraved frontispiece from the Blaeu atlas of China, 60 (of 61) maps and illustrations on double-page plates (44, some folded) resp. in the text (16, 11 of them full-page) as well as 3 engravings and 7 woodcuts in the text. (The two copperplates on pp. 74 and 76 are mounted over misprints, as in other copies.) Incomplete. (Lacking printed title for the first section, and world map incl. 3 pages of letterpress description.) Collation: 16 (instead of 19) sheets, 50 pages and leaf 34b, 1 leaf, VII page, 1 leag, 14 pages, 1 leaf, 116, XLVI pages and leaf VI b, 1 leaf index.
Koeman II, 2:611.1
Johannes Blaeu Biography

Joan, or Johannes, Blaeu (1596-1673) was the son of Willem Janszoon Blaeu. He inherited his father’s meticulous and striking mapmaking style and continued the Blaeu workshop until it burned in 1672. Initially, Joan trained as a lawyer, but he decided to join his father’s business rather than practice.

After his father’s death in 1638, Joan and his brother, Cornelis, took over their father’s shop and Joan took on his work as hydrographer to the Dutch East India Company. Joan brought out many important works, including Nova et Accuratissima Terrarum Orbis Tabula, a world map to commemorate the Peace of Westphalia which brought news of Abel Tasman’s voyages in the Pacific to the attention of Europe. This map was used as a template for the world map set in the floor of the Amsterdam Town Hall, the Groote Burger-Zaal, in 1655.

Joan also modified and greatly expanded his father’s Atlas novus, first published in 1635. All the while, Joan was honing his own atlas. He published the Atlas maior between 1662 and 1672. It is one of the most sought-after atlases by collectors and institutions today due to the attention to the detail, quality, and beauty of the maps. He is also known for his town plans and wall maps of the continents. Joan’s productivity slammed to a halt in 1672, when a fire completely destroyed his workshop and stock. Joan died a year later and is buried in the Westerkerk in Amsterdam.