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Stock# 92391

The First Folio Atlas of the Low Countries. With the Famed Leo Belgicus Map.

Second Latin edition of the first atlas exclusively devoted to the Seventeen Provinces.

The atlas includes a finely engraved title replete with allegorical representations of the arts of printing and navigation, the coats of arms of each of the XVII Provinces, and a skull on a sundial acting representing a vanitas motif. Following this are the maps, with 24 double-paged maps embellished with decorative cartouches and small-town views (including the Leo Belgicus map) and a historical plate with views of the local customs.

For this 1622 edition (following the 1617 first edition), Petrus Kaerius (also known as Pieter van den Keere) invited Ghent-born Petrus Montanus or Van den Berghe to write the accompanying text to his maps. Montanus was married to a sister of Jodocus Hondius senior, who was in turn also Kaerius' brother-in-law. As such, the text was entirely reset. In addition, "Flandriae pars orientalior" (pl. 10) was replaced by the "Caerte van 't Vrije" by C.J. Visscher while the map "Typus Frisiae orientalis," now with text on the verso, is bound at the end.

Leo Belgicus

In addition to being the first folio atlas of the Low Countries, the atlas is perhaps most famous for its inclusion of the second state of Kaerius' Leo Belgicus map, showing the Low Countries in the shape of a rampant lion facing Europe to the right, engraved by Hendrik van Langren (1573-1609).

The Leo Belgicus maps are perhaps the most famous examples of cartography as an expression of national pride. The use of the lion image was also suggested by the vaguely leonine shape of the areas themselves. Further, the lion had long figured in the national iconography of Holland and Belgium; most of the coats-of-arms of the countries' Seventeen Provinces feature a lion. Also, the map was a statement of unity, since at the time the Seventeen Provinces comprised a single nation, although under the control of Spain.

Petrus Kaerius

Van den Keere (Kaerius) was one of the most skilled Flemish engravers of the early 17th century, whose talents were utilized by the English map publisher, John Speed, among others. The Leo Belgicus is perhaps his finest work. Its rich ornamentation includes three couples along the bottom in the characteristic dress of the regions of Friesland, Holland, and Belgium. Tooley notes that Leo Belgicus maps are exceedingly rare, with some examples known in a handful of examples, and in some cases, only a single example.

When Kaerius fell on hard times later in the decade, the copper plates for the maps would be sold to Claes Janszoon Visscher.


  1. Early ink ownership to title.
  2. Manuscript inscription on verso of first blank reading: "Dan: Part. Ex Biblioth. Prin: Juv: Sept. 13. 1716".
  3. Ink stamp on first blank reading: "Released from the Cathedral Library by Authority of the Dean and Chapter Date 22 Dec 1969".


[Half-Title]; [Title]; [iv]; 1-94 [with 25 engraved double-page maps and plates]; [3].

Condition Description
Folio. Contemporary stiff vellum with manuscript title to spine reading "Kaerii | German | Inferior." Complete with 24 double-page engraved maps and one double-page engraved plate. (Minor staining to vellum. Corner of X and Kk2 torn, latter including loss to image. Some internal edge fraying of paper. Final blank repaired. Small paste-down to spine. Deaccession stamp to front blank.)
Van der Krogt. Koeman's Atlantes Neerlandici Volume IIIB 364:02