Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2013 Issue

Important Maps and Related Items from Daniel Crouch Rare Books

Waldseeworld

Martin Waldseemuller's world map with a primitive rendition of America.

Item 1 is a collection of nine versions of one of the odder of maps, the “Leo Belgicus” maps of the Low Countries, Holland and Belgium today. It includes the first of the Leo maps, that of Michael von Aitzing from 1583. This one inspired the others. The Low Countries are depicted in the shape of a lion, which took a fair amount of imagination. The ocean fits neatly along the lion's back, but fitting the land into the head and paws required a fair amount of creativity. The map was created while the land was revolting against Spain, which controlled Holland at the time. Aitzing is careful to avoid any signs of partiality in the conflict, saying it is truthful and verified by all on both sides. The lion shape is merely to make the map easier to understand. However, the map may have conveyed to some the idea of a strong local population fighting to free itself from foreign domination. The remaining eight maps depict the lion in somewhat differing poses, and range as late as 1672, though Leo maps continued to be produced for many more years. £350,000 (US $530,475).

Item 16 is the first English atlas, that is, the first produced by an Englishman in England. John Speed first published his The Theatre of the Empire in Great Britaine in 1611. This edition was published in 1676, as the era of the great Dutch atlases was coming to a close. It includes several new maps, including four of the Americas. This copy has an unusual feature - red ruled lines have been added around each map and in parts of the text. This was considered an extra touch of beauty in 17th century England. Samuel Pepys, in his diary, mentions red-ruling one of his maps, making it “very handsome.” The practice does not appear to have expanded beyond the time and place of 17th century England. £110,000 (US $166,615).

Daniel Crouch Rare Books may be reached at +44 (0)20 7042 0240 or info@crouchrarebooks.com. Their website is found at www.crouchrarebooks.com.

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