Rutlandia comitatus.  Rutland Shire by J. Blaeu

Rutlandia comitatus. Rutland Shire by J. Blaeu

Code: 54829

£185.00 Approx $234.18, €215.87

Date: circa 1645

Copper engraving with fine original hand colouring. French text on verso. PP 244/243; 6 decorative coats of arms, two cartouches - one stunning cartouche surrounding the title shows the produce of the county in glorious profusion; the mileage cartouche shows a surveyor measuring distances watched by a putto .   Overall sheet size: 59.3cms x 50.7cms; image size: 498mm x 381mm.  A small area of thinning at very top margin (only visible when held up to the light) else very good condition indeed.

 "As with all productions of the firm of Blaeu, the engraving and layout are all of the highest standard." Rodney Shirley.

Willem Blaeu (1638) was the founder of the Blaeu cartographic dynasty, the finest mapmakers of the Golden Age of Dutch cartography. He studied astronomy and instrument making under Tycho Brahe in his tower at Uranienborg in 1594, before moving to Amsterdam and eventually established a shop in 1605, close to his contemporaries and rivals Johannes Janssonius and Jacob Colom. He was granted a privilege to print a navigational guide in 1606. Two years later, he produced a set of large carte-à-figure wall maps of the four continents and published ​‘Het Licht der Zeevaerdt’, a traditional oblong format pilot with coastal profiles to accompany the sailing instructions.

Willem’s sons joined him in the firm, with the eldest Joannes (1598) quickly assuming the lead. Joannes went to university in Leiden, studying mathematics and astronomy. After returning to work for his father, they produced their first atlas together in 1630, the ​‘Atlas Appendix’. The title was deliberately chosen to position it as a supplement to the well-respected atlases of Abraham Ortelius and Gerard Mercator, and it mostly contained maps from their stock of plates. Five years later, they produced their ​‘Atlas Novus’ with more than twice the number of maps in the ​‘Appendix’, which was published in four languages. After Willem died, Joannes expanded the ​‘Atlas Novus’ into the ​‘Atlas Maior’, the largest and grandest atlas of its time. An edition had between nine and twelve volumes, beautifully engraved and coloured, and cost as much as a house in Amsterdam. He also issued a wall map in 20 sheets in 1648, ​‘Nova totius terrarium orbs tabula’.  Johannes Blaeu became the official cartographer of the Dutch East India Company. round 1649, Blaeu published a collection of Dutch city maps named Toonneel der Steeden (Views of Cities). In 1651, he was voted into the Amsterdam council. In 1654, Blaeu published the first atlas of Scotland, devised by Timothy Pont. In 1662, he reissued the Atlas Novus, also known as Atlas Maior.  However a fire destroyed the studio of Johannes and Cornelius his brother  in 1672 and their stock and copper plates  were destroyed.