Nova totius terrarum orbis geographica ac hydrographica tabula

Pieter van den Keere (*1571 - 1650)
Antique world map with borders by Pieter van den Keere. Published around 1640 in Amsterdam.

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Reference 12659



The Rare Kerius-Janssonius World Map After Blaeu.

Perhaps the finest world map ever printed. This world map in Mercator projection, surrounded by four decorative borders, was engraved by Pieter van den Keere in Amsterdam in 1608 and represents the apogee of seventeenth century Dutch cartography. It is based on the map by Willem J. Blaeu published two years earlier, but compared to the Blaeu map it contains extensive annotations and far more information about possible discoveries in the Arctic, Antarctica and Australia. In contrast to the Blaeu world map, it is classified as rare (R) by Shirley.

R. Shirley describes this world map in The Mapping of the World, No. 264:

This map, signed by Pieter van den Keere using an abbreviation of his latinised name Petrus Kaerius and dated 1608, is an undisguised and skilful copy of Willem J. Blaeu's single-sheet world map of two years earlier. The clarity and precision of Keere's engraving is in no way inferior to that of Josua van den Ende who engraved Blaeu's map... A long note near the cartouche headed 'America' queries whether the straits of Anian and Davis do in fact link up to form a north-west passage. Keere's map, unlike the later states of Blaeu's, has strong rhumb lines radiating from three compass roses.

'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.' (Shirley, Entry 255). The map has decorative cartouches for the title, dedication and explanation, two spheres for the north and south poles, three compass roses and numerous ships and sea monsters.

First published by Pieter van den Keere in 1608. The copper plate was sold to Johannes Janssonius before 1621, who used the world map only in a few early editions of his atlas. The strait of Le Maire east of Tierra del Fuego, discovered in 1616 by Jacob Le Maire and Willem Schouten, was added to the map in 1621. Around 1630, the date 1621 was removed from the cartouche under Janssonius' name. In the second half of the 17th century, the copper plate finally came to Moses Pitt, who heavily reworked and reissued it (see Shirley 504). This is the 4th of 5 states, published between 1637 and 1644 by Janssonius. Dutch text on verso.


CartographerPieter van den Keere
TitleNova totius terrarum orbis geographica ac hydrographica tabula
Publisher, YearAmsterdam, 1608 [1637-44]
Plate Size39.9 x 55.0 cm (15.7 x 21.7 inches)
Sheet Size47.5 x 57.0 cm (18.7 x 22.4 inches)
ReferenceShirley, R. W.: The Mapping of the World, No. 264; Van der Krogt, P.: Koeman's Atlantes Neerlandici, 0001:1B.2; Schilder, G.: Monumenta Cartographica Neerlandica VI, 2.4.


Centrefold backed with Japan paper, two tears at the ends of the centrefold closed, a crease mark separation right to the centrefold backed, printer's crease to the lower right mainly backed in the margin. Very good condition.


Pieter van den Keere, also Petrus Kaerius, was born in Ghent in 1571. At a young age he moved together with his family to London and was trained as an engraver by Jodocus Hondius. Like Hondius, he settled back to Amsterdam in 1593. He produced numerous copper engravings, besides those for Blaeu also for the Atlas Minor by J. Hondius. He published his own atlas of the Netherlands, Germania Inferior in 1617. In 1623 Claes Janszoon Visscher bought the copper plates of the atlas of the Netherlands and replaced Kaerius' name with his own.

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Pieter van den Keere: Nova totius terrarum orbis geographica ac hydrographica tabula.
Antique world map with borders by Pieter van den Keere. Published around 1640 in Amsterdam.

World Maps - Keere, Pieter van den - Nova totius terrarum orbis geographica ac...

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