Dvcatus Silesiæ Grotganvs cum Districtu Nissensi.

BLAEU, J.

From Andersens Antikvariat (Glostrup, Denmark)

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Kupferstichkarte vom Einfluss der Glatzer-Neisse in die Oder im schlesischen Herzogtum von Grotganus (zwischen Glatz und Oppeln) mit der Stadt Neisse in der Mitte. Vom Westen gesehen. Mit zwei dekorativen Kartuschen. 39,5x50 cm. Amsterdam, o.J. [Erste Hälfte des 17. Jahrhunderts]. Mit einigen Namen untergestreicht. * Map of Grodkow (Silesia). Artist probably Blaeu, Joan & Guiljelmus. A handcolored version of the map was published in Amsterdam around 1663 in Joan Blaeu s »Atlas Major«.** Joan Blaeu was the eldest son of Willem Janszoon Blaeu (1571-1638), and was probably born in Alkmaar in the province of Noord-Holland in 1596. He was brought up in Amsterdam, and studied law at the University of Leiden before going into partnership with his father in the 1630s. Although his father Willem had cartographic interests, having studied under the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe and having manufactured globes and instruments, his primary business was as a printer. It was under the control of Joan that the Blaeu printing press achieved lasting fame by moving towards the printing of maps and expanding to become the largest printing press in Europe in the 17th century. Until the late 1620s, the European market for world atlases was dominated by the Mercator maps published by Jodocus Hondius II. However, following the latter's death in 1629, and the growing competition in publishing sea charts and pilot books, the Blaeu business seized its opportunity to publish a grand world atlas: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum or Atlas Novus. Willem had already built up extensive contacts across Europe with those who could supply cartographic and topographic information about particular countries and Joan continued to develop these through active correspondence. Progress on the world atlas was initially slow, and by the time of Willem's death in 1638 only two volumes had been published, although several more were in progress. But with the publication of a volume for Italy in 1640, one for England in 1645, and another for Scotland in 1654, Joan Blaeu eclipsed his chief rival, Johannes Janssonius, who from this time never matched the quantity of volumes and maps in Blaeu's magnificent atlas. Recognising that the wealthy patrons who would buy such atlases were primarily interested in display, aesthetic considerations such as luxury bindings, fine engraving, bright colour and beautiful typography were emphasised. The currency of the maps, many of which (as for Scotland) had been drafted over a half-century earlier, and an even geographical spread across the known world, were definitely considered less important. By the 1660s the »Theatrum Orbis Terrarum« (or »Atlas Maior« as it had became known by this time) had expanded to between 9 and 12 volumes, depending on the language. With over 3,000 text pages and approximately 600 maps, it was the most expensive book money could buy in the later 17th century. The translation of the text from Latin into Dutch, English, German, French, and Spanish for several volumes created enormous work for those involved in typography and letterpress activities. It is estimated that over 80 men must have been employed full-time in the Blaeu printing house in Bloemgracht (not including engravers who worked elsewhere), with over 15 printing presses running simultaneously, and in 1667 a second press was acquired at Gravenstraat. At the same time as producing the Atlas Maior, Blaeu was also publishing town plans of Italy, maps for globes, and other volumes. At its peak the Blaeu press managed to produce over 1 million impressions from 1,000 copper plates within four years (Koeman, 1970). This growth coincided with a period of prosperity for Amsterdam and the Low Countries, and Joan Blaeu's career mirrored this success. He became chief cartographer to the Dutch East India Company from 1638, and from 1651 to 1672 he served on the Amsterdam City Council without a break, holding several public offices. He also invested in Dutch colonial interests. Bookseller Inventory # 15041777

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