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>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> SMITH, CHRISTOPHER WEBB. 1793-1871. <i>Indian Ornithology.</i> [Patna, India]: 1828. $50,000 to $80,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DUPRÉ, LOUIS. 1789-1837. <i>Voyage à Athènes et à Constantinople, ou Collection de portraits, vues et costumes grecs et ottomans.</i> Paris: Dondey-Dupré, 1825. $60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> ADAMS, JOHN. Autograph Letter Signed ("J Adams"), [to Dr. Perkins?] while recovering from his small pox inoculation, [late-April, 1764]. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUSTEN, JANE. Autograph Letter Signed ("J. Austen"), to her sister Cassandra, 4 pp, "Thursday – after dinner," [September 16, 1813,] Henrietta St. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUDUBON, JOHN JAMES. 1785-1851. <i>The Birds of America, from Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories.</i> New York & Philadelphia: J.J. Audubon & J.B. Chevalier, 1840-1844. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DODWELL, EDWARD. 1767-1832. <i>Views in Greece.</i> London: Rodwell and Martin, 1821. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> JAMES, JESSE. Autograph Letter Signed ("Jesse W. James"), to Mr. Flood demanding Flood retract spurious accusations, 3 pp, June 5, 1875. $200,000 to $300,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Textile of the Great White Fleet, with portraits of Theodore Roosevelt, Rear Admiral Robley D. Evans & successor Charles Stillman Sperry, 1908. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> William J. Stone, <i>Declaration of Independence,</i> Force printing, 1833. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Shugart family papers including documentation of the Underground Railroad, 63 items, 1838-81. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Records of the Dickinson & Shrewsbury salt works, over 2000 items, with extensive slave labor correspondence, legal records & receipts, bulk 1820-1865. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Gloria Steinem, typescript for her speech <i>Living the Revolution,</i> with related letters and documents, 1941-77. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> <i>Liberty Triumphant or the Downfall of Oppression,</i> depicting the aftermath of the Boston Tea Party, c. 1774. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Juan Eusebio Nieremberg, <i>Historia naturae, maxime peregrinae, libris XVI distincta,</i> Antwerp, 1635. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Antonio de Mayorga, manuscript map of Mexico City, 1779. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Thomas L. McKenney & James Hall, <i>History of the Indian Tribes of North America,</i> first edition, 3 volumes, Philadelphia, 1842-44. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Samuel Walker, diary of the entire first cruise of the USS Kineo, a gunboat on the Mississippi, 1854-69. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Scrapbook on early Stanford football, with letters from Walter Camp, 1893-95 & 1931. $8,000 to $12,000.
  • <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Roberts, David. Twenty Lithographs of the Holy Land, 19th Century. $2,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Declaration by the Reps. of the United Colonies of N.A. 1775. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Composer Jerome Kern personal Letters, Albums and Other. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Paine, Thomas. <i>Common Sense,</i> London 1776. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Stowe, Harriet Beecher. <i>Uncle Tom’s Cabin,</i> Cleveland 1852. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Hobbes, Thomas. <i>Leviathan,</i> 3rd edition, London 1651. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Anno Regni Georgii III. Intolerable Acts and other Bills, 1774. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Wilberforce, William. An Abstract of the Evidence, 5 Letters, and two books. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Nightingale, Florence. Notes on Nursing and Signed Letters, ca. 1860 $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Tolstov, Leo. <i>War and Peace,</i> 5 volumes, 1886. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Dickinson, John. Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, 1768. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Twain, Mark. <i>Tom Sawyer,</i> 1877 [and] <i>Huckleberry Finn,</i> 1885. $4,000 to $6,000.

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