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Large paper copy of the first Dutch edition of Blaeu's great atlas of cities and towns of the Dutch Republic,
with 320 mostly double-page maps, plans and views

BLAEU, Joan.
[Toonneel der steden van de Vereenighde Nederlanden, met hare beschrijvingen, ...].
With: [Toonneel der steden van s Konings Nederlanden, met hare beschrijvingen, ...].
[Amsterdam, Joan Blaeu, 1652]. 2 volumes. Atlas folio (57 × 37 cm). With two engraved architectural title-pages, each with a blank central panel where a letterpress slip with the title and the publishers name would have been pasted; 181 (Dutch Republic) & 139 (Spanish Netherlands) maps, plans and views plus 2 smaller engravings in text; 20 woodcut illustration figures in the text. Uniform, early 18th-century(?) half red sheepskin.
€ 68,500
A well-preserved large-paper copy of the first Dutch edition of Joan Blaeus great atlas of the cities and towns of the Low Countries (the Dutch Republic in volume 1 and the Spanish Netherlands in volume 2), with 320 maps, plans (including fortification, siege and battle plans) and views, mostly printed from double-page plates produced by Blaeu himself, but also many half-page city plans printed from the plates of Hendrik Hondiuss first (1632) edition of Boxhorns atlas of Dutch cities and towns. In addition to maps and plans, the engravings show city profiles, important buildings and monuments, and many are adorned with spectacular cartouches, coats of arms and occasionally pictorial decorations. The accompanying texts provide valuable information on the cities geography, history, important buildings and culture. "Of all the Blaeu atlases, the town atlases of the Netherlands are held in the highest esteem in the Netherlands" (Koeman in Van der Krogt IV-1, p. 299). "Nothing gives a more beautiful and magnificent picture of the Dutch Golden Age than the ... plans of towns ... in the Toonneel der steden ... The towns were the centre of power, prosperity, industry and culture" (Dutch splendour).
Joan Blaeu (1596-1673) first published his atlas of cities and towns of the Low Countries in Latin, immediately after the October 1648 Peace of Westphalia, probably in early 1649. The present copy shows the atlas in the definitive form of the first edition, with all textual additions and all but one plate corrected up to late 1652 or very soon after, but with none of the additions or variants introduced in later editions.
With this atlas, Blaeu spared no expense to proudly produce not only a great monument to the Dutch Republic but also a great monument to Dutch book production. Some copies were apparently printed on Imperial paper (the largest size in common use), but the present copy is on even larger paper clearly produced to Blaeus specification, appropriately watermarked with a figure of Atlas holding up the world). These Blaeu editions probably led to the use of the name "Atlas" for a paper format larger than Imperial.
Lacking the two letterpress title-slips and without two of the privileges included in some copies. In volume 1, 4 double-page maps or plans have been sophisticated, probably at an early date. One map has a tear at the foot of the central fold, running 8 cm into the map image, and a worm trail in quires n-p2 slightly affects the text and 6 maps and an occasional leaf shows a small minor hole, tear or stain in the margin. The atlas is generally in very good condition and only slightly trimmed, giving the atlas large margins. The binding is worn, with the paste-paper sides scuffed and with holes in some of the hinges at the sewing supports, but it remains structurally sound. Large-paper copy of Joan Bleaus great atlas of cities and towns of the Low Countries, a beautiful atlas and an important monument to the Dutch Republic. V.d. Krogt, Koemans Atlantes Neerlandici IV-1, 43:121, issue 4; Fontaine Verwey, Uit de wereld van het boek III, pp. 169-170.
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Related Subjects:

Cartography & exploration  >  Atlases, Charts, Maps & Globes | Low Countries
Low countries  >  Belgium | Cartography & Topography | Netherlands
Military history  >  Fortification & Military Architecture