Rare Book Monthly

Articles - February - 2009 Issue

Hes & De Graaf Announce Facsimile Edition of Blaeu-Van Der Hem Great Atlas

Hesatlas

Part of what is today the northeast coast of the U.S. from the Blaeu atlas.


By Michael Stillman

Hes and De Graaf Publishers of the Netherlands has announced a major publishing project, a facsimile on a grander scale than any we have previously seen. They are in the process of publishing an eight-volume facsimile of the non-European sections of the 1660-1663 Blaeu Atlas Major, as supplemented by the 17th century Amsterdam attorney and collector Laurens Van der Hem. This uniquely supplemented "grand atlas" includes four volumes of maps and manuscript notes created for the Dutch East India Company (VOC). The original is held by the Austrian National Library in Vienna. Now offered is a spectacular facsimile of the sections pertaining to Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Only 100 copies will be printed, and each will be assembled and bound by hand to order.

The Blaeu "grand atlas" was the highpoint of the exceptional Dutch atlases of the 16th and 17th centuries, arguable the greatest atlas ever produced. The original, which includes several volumes on Europe, is lavishly illustrated with town views, images of buildings, natural scenery, etc., and is filled with maps and charts. The Hes and De Graaf facsimile does not include the European volumes, but instead contains the material Van der Hem added to his copy. Laurens Van der Hem added numerous maps, drawings, manuscripts, and text to his copy that he thought belonged. Most notable are four volumes of manuscript maps and views created for the Dutch East India Company (the "secret" atlas), normally reserved for use by officers of that institution. Van der Hem died in 1678, and his heirs sold his copy to Prince Eugene of Savoy in 1730. His heir and niece, Victoria, eventually sold the copy to the imperial library in Vienna, now the Austrian National Library.

Hes and De Graaf has used fine materials to recreate the appearance of the great atlas. The paper selected replicates the original used by Blaeu while being more suitable for folding of the large maps and designed for greater strength. The pages are bound by hand in vellum bindings with gilt ornaments and gilded edges. The aim is to recreate 17th century beauty and authenticity with 21st century durability. The latest techniques in reproduction are employed to provide the highest fidelity to the original plates and maps, including the color.

Along with the Blaeu atlas and VOC volumes, and Van der Hem's additions, there is a supplement providing detailed information about this facsimile edition. It includes not only details about the production of this edition, but information about Blaeu, Van der Hem, and a description of the varied material within the atlas.

The Blaeu-Van der Hem atlas has been registered on the UNESCO list of "the memory of the world" since 2004. That was also when preparation began for the creation of this facsimile edition of the American, African, and Asian volumes. A presentation of the new edition is scheduled for April at the University of Amsterdam, with another slated for Vienna in June.

The Blaeu-Van der Hem facsimile edition has been priced at €79,500 within the European community (VAT included) or €75,000 elsewhere (roughly $98,900 in US dollars). We suggest that those who might be interested in obtaining a copy of this magnificent work contact Hes and De Graaf at +31 (0)30 6380071 or info@hesdegraaf.com for additional information or to obtain a prospectus.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Caius Julius Hyginus, <i>Poeticon Astronomicon,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1482. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Giovanni Botero, <i>Le Relationi Universali... divise in Sette Parti</i>, Venice, 1618. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> <i>L'Escole des Filles</i>, likely third edition of the first work of pornographic fiction in French, 1676. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, Flanders, early 16th century. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes Regiomontanus, <i>Calendarium,</i> Venice, 1485. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Pedro de Medina, <i>Libro d[e] gra[n]dezas y cosas memorables de España,</i> Alcalá de Henares, 1566. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b><br>Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> Salamanca, circa 1496-97. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Andrés Serrano, <i>Los Siete Principes de los Ángeles, válidos de Rey del Cielo,</i> Spain, 1707. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes de Sacrobosco, <i>Sphaera mundi,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1478. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> A Rare 3-rotor German Enigma I Enciphering Machine. $70,000 to $90,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Important collection of correspondence between Werner Heisenberg and Bruno Rossi. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Walt Whitman Autograph manuscript containing his thoughts on death. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> David Roberts. <i>Holy Land</i>. Six volumes. 1842-1849. First edition. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Extensive collection of Ray Bradbury's primary works, most signed or inscribed. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Peter Force. Declaration of Independence. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Steinbeck. <i>Grapes of Wrath</i>. A fine copy of the first edition. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Lewis & Clark. <i>Travels to the Source of the Missouri River</i>... First English edition, extra-illustrated. 1814. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Manuscript document signed by Nuno de Guzman relating to Hernan Cortes, 1528. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> “Nos los inquisidores..." The first book in English printed West of the Mississippi. [1787]. $5,000 to $8,000.
  • <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Collection of 131 Herbert Ponting gelatin silver contact prints of Antartica, £6000-8000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> One of several lots of Henri Cartier-Bresson gelatin silver prints, £200-300
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Vintage gelatin silver print of Diego Rivera by Leonard McCombe, £300-500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print portrait by Julia Margaret Cameron of Sir John Herschel (April, 1867), £30,000-50,000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print by Julia Margaret Cameron, Love, 1864 (from the Norman album), £1000-1500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print by Lewis Carroll of Twyford School Eleven (Summer Term, 1859), £1000-1500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print portrait by Lewis Carroll of Xie Kitchin as 'Dane' (Oxford, 1873), £500-800
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Calotype print (c1845) by Hill & Adamson of Lady Elizabeth (Rigby) Eastlake, £3000-4000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Group of 12 waxed paper negatives of Scottish scenes by Thomas Keith, mid-1850s, £3000-5000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> One of 15 lots of Roger Fenton salt prints of his work in the Crimea, mid-1850s, £400-600
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Quarter plate ambrotype (c.1860s) with ethnographic portrait of a woman seated at a table, £400-600
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Rare whole plate thermoplastic union case of the Landing of Columbus (c.1858),part of the John Hannavy collection, £1500-2000
  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
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    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
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