Monumental Atlas of England & Wales
Fine example of the Latin edition of Joan Blaeu's Atlas of England & Wales, first published in 1645. The present example is Volume 5 of Blaeu's monumental Atlas Maior.
The maps include a general Great Britain, historical map of the Saxon Heptarchy with decorative panels showing scenes from Anglo-Saxon history and an additional 56 regional maps, which include magnificent heraldic decoration. The maps are modeled primarily after John Speed's 1611 Theatre of the Empire of Great Britain, with the text based upon Camden's Britannia (1607).
Blaeu's atlas of England and Wales was the first published outside of the England. Here offered in the original publisher's vellum binding and finely colored in a contemporary hand, it is a marvelous example of the mapmaker's art.
Willem Janszoon Blaeu (1571-1638) was a prominent Dutch geographer and publisher. Born the son of a herring merchant, Blaeu chose not fish but mathematics and astronomy for his focus. He studied with the famous Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, with whom he honed his instrument and globe making skills. Blaeu set up shop in Amsterdam, where he sold instruments and globes, published maps, and edited the works of intellectuals like Descartes and Hugo Grotius. In 1635, he released his atlas, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, sive, Atlas novus.
Willem died in 1638. He had two sons, Cornelis (1610-1648) and Joan (1596-1673). Joan trained as a lawyer, but joined his father’s business rather than practice. After his father’s death, the brothers took over their father’s shop and Joan took on his work as hydrographer to the Dutch East India Company. Later in life, Joan would modify and greatly expand his father’s Atlas novus, eventually releasing his masterpiece, the Atlas maior, between 1662 and 1672.