Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis Geographica ac Hydrographica Tabula auct: Guiljelmo Blaeuw.

Willem Janszoon Blaeu (*1571 - 1638)
Old coloured world map with borders by Willem J. Blaeu. Published 1643 in Amsterdam.

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One of the Most Famous World Maps of Dutch Cartography with Stunning Old Colours.

Perhaps the finest world map ever printed. This map represents the apogee of seventeenth century Dutch cartography. Willem Blaeu's world map with the decorative panels helped establish an iconography in the popular imagination which endures to this days. From the most expensive book published in the 17th century, an eleven-volume atlas containing 593 hand-coloured maps.

R. Shirley describes this world map in The Mapping of the World, No. 255:

Classic single-sheet world map on Mercator's projection... celebrated as one of the supreme examples of the map maker's art... The map has been expertly reduced from the Blaeu's large world map of 1605. The engraver Josua van den Ende signed in the lower right corner. The most striking characteristic are the superb border decorations. Along the top are allegorical of the sun and the moon and the known five planets - Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Down the sides are, on the left, four panels illustrating the elements (Fire, Water, Air and Earth), and on the right, the four seasons. Along the bottom are seven vignettes showing the seven ancient wonders of the world: the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Colossus over the harbour at Rhodos, the Pyramids, the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus at Caria, the Temple of Diane, the Statue of Jupiter, and the conical lighthouse of Alexandria.

The map has decorative cartouches for the title, dedication and explanation, two spheres for the north and south poles, a compass roses and numerous ships and sea monsters. This is the fourth state of the map from a German edition of Blaeu's Atlas, printed between 1641 and 1649. With German text on verso. Blaeu's world map in Mercator's projection with the borders was replaced by a two hemispheres world map prepared by Willem's son Joan from 1658 onwards.


CartographerWillem Janszoon Blaeu
TitleNova Totius Terrarum Orbis Geographica ac Hydrographica Tabula auct: Guiljelmo Blaeuw.
Publisher, YearAmsterdam, 1641-49
Plate Size40.8 x 54.4 cm (16.1 x 21.4 inches)
Sheet Size50.1 x 60.0 cm (19.7 x 23.6 inches)
ReferenceShirley, R. W.: The Mapping of the World, No. 255; Van der Krogt, P.: Koeman's Atlantes Neerlandici, 0001:2A.


Light browning to margins due to former framing, centerfold backed at the bottom, narrow paper strip from old framing all around on verso. Very good condition with beautiful old coloring.


Willem Janszoon Blaeu was born 1571 in Alkmaar. He was trained from 1594 to 1596 by the famous danish astronomer Tycho Brahe. 1599 he went to Amsterdam and founded a business as globe maker. Later he started producing map and sea charts, including his first world map in 1605. In 1633 he was appointed Hydrographer for the Dutch East India Company (VOC). His most famous work was the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum sive Atlas Novus of 1635, which was published until 1655 in total six volumes. After Blaeu's death in 1638 his sons Joan and Cornelis continued the business and finished the Atlas Novus and started an even larger work, the Atlas Maior, which reached 12 volumes. In 1672 a fire destroyed the printing house and most of the printing plates. Joan Blaeu died the following year, leaving the business to his three sons Willem (1635-1701), Pieter (1637-1706) and Joan II (1650-1712). While the business began to decline in the hands of his sons, the dominance of the Blaeu publishing house finally ended in 1703 when the V.O.C. stopped publishing maps bearing the Blaeu family name. Some of the surviving plates were bought by F. de Wit and Schenk & Valk.

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Willem Janszoon Blaeu: Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis Geographica ac Hydrographica Tabula auct: Guiljelmo Blaeuw..
Old coloured world map with borders by Willem J. Blaeu. Published 1643 in Amsterdam.

World Maps - Blaeu, Willem Janszoon - Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis Geographica ac...

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