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Date Circa 1646
Long title: Insularum Britannicarum acurata Delinieatio ex Geographicis conatibus Abrahami Ortelii. Copper engraving with original outline hand colouring. Overall size : 56.4cms x 44.7cms. Plate size : 512mm x 392mm. Centrefold strengthened on verso 16.7cms, see magnified image of back of map; browning to margin edges else good condition.
Copper engraving with original hand colouring. Engraved by Pieter van den Keere and copied from the map in Ortelius’ Parergon. This map is of Roman Britain . Roman place names as well as Hadrian’s wall are shown . It follows Ortelius’ divisions of the entire island into Britannia Maior (present day England, Wales and Cornwall) and 'Britannia Minor' (present day Scotland). The map is oriented with west to top, from Jansson's Atlas Major. England and Wales are labelled as Britannia Superior, and further divided into the later Roman provinces of Prima (the South), Secunda (Wales), Flavia Caesariensis (the Midlands), and Maxima Caesariensis (the North). Original celtic tribal regions are also labelled, as well as the site that Caesar allegedly landed in his invasion of 55 BC. The map is embellished with a large baroque strapwork cartouche in the bottom right corner, containing the name of the publisher, the title, and a dedication to Abraham Ortelius. The figures on either side of the cartouche one with a moustache and one with faint tatoos are ancient Britons.
The map is closely based upon the earlier Ortelius map of Roman Britain, which first appeared in the Parergon, and it is likely that this map was printed from the same, though heavily reworked, plate. Text and cartography are almost identical, though van den Keere has re-engraved much of the surrounding ornamentation, including new and more numerous ships and sea monsters, has removed the original cartouches and replaced them with those of Jansson, and has added three compass roses and corresponding rhumb lines to the oceans.
Pieter van den Keere, also known frequently as Petrus Kaerius, came to England in 1584, as a Protestant refugee from his home town of Ghent with his sister Colette, who married Jodocus Hondius, in 1587. It was probably from Hondius that van den Keere learned to engrave. Both engravers left London in 1593 to settle in Amsterdam. Van den Keere began to engrave a series of miniature maps in 1599 in preparation for a small atlas of the British Isles. The maps were first published in 1617 by William Blaeu with plate numbers and Latin text. They then passed to George Humble, who published them in 1619 and then again in 1627, by which time they had become known colloquially as 'Miniature Speeds.'
Johannes Jansson (also known as Johann or Jan Jansson or Janszoon) (1588-1664) was a renowned geographer and publisher of the seventeenth century, when the Dutch dominated map publishing in Europe. Born in Arnhem, Jan was first exposed to the trade via his father, who was also a bookseller and publisher. In 1612, Jan married the daughter of Jodocus Hondius, who was also a prominent mapmaker and seller. Jonssonius’ first maps date from 1616.
In the 1630s, Janssonius worked with his brother-in-law, Henricus Hondius. Their most successful venture was to reissue the Mercator-Hondius atlas. Jodocus Hondius had acquired the plates to the Mercator atlas, first published in 1595, and added 36 additional maps. After Hondius died in 1612, Henricus took over publication; Janssonius joined the venture in 1633. Eventually, the atlas was renamed the Atlas Novus and then the Atlas Major, by which time it had expanded to eleven volumes. Janssonius is also well known for his volume of English county maps, published in 1646.
Janssonius died in Amsterdam in 1664. His son-in-law, Johannes van Waesbergen, took over his business. Eventually, many of Janssonius’ plates were sold to Gerard Valck and Pieter Schenk, who added their names and continued to reissue the maps.