Date: Wed, 14 Jan 1998
Vladimiro Valerio
Subject: Hondius 1603: a great find

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Dear All,

it's just to inform you that the only (so far) surviving copy of Jodocus Hondius wall map of the world published in 1603 will be sold at the Sotheby's Auction in Milan next 20th March.

I had the luck to be contacted by the owner and to study for a while the wall map which was within its original early XVII century frame. The dimension of the whole is 227x160 cm and is composed of 12 sheets for the map of the world in Mercator Projection (188,5x110 cm) surrounded by a composite printed and engraved borders with text and historical maps and images (texts are in latin).

Title is NOVA ET EXACTA TOTITUS ORBIS TERRARUM DESCRIPTIO GEOGRAPHICA ET HYDROGRAPHICA Auct. I. Hondio. The central cartouche (between sheets 2 and 3) bears the dedication to Illustrissimo Foederatarum Belgicae Provinciarum Ordinibus Earumque, Senatori Fortissimo (Mauri)tio de Nassau Patriae et Avitae Libertatis Defensor Invictis I.M.Q.D. Jod. Hondius. As you may detect the title is just the same as of the 1608 edition, of which the only surviving copy is in the Royal Geographical Society (Shirley n. 263), as well as the size and the number of sheets.

Shirley and Schilder were both wrong in assuming that the 1603 world map by Hondius (only known from the literature) were in two emispheres (Shirley n. 238, Schilder Monumenta Cartographica Neerlandica, III, n. 4). Of course we don't know whether also existed a wall map of the world by Hondius in two emispheres in four sheets published in 1603, but what now comes to light is the first edition (editio princeps) of the world map in Mercator Projection of which only the 1608 edition was so far recorded.

At a first glance I may say that the 12 original copperplates of the map (i.e. 1603) were reissued in the 1608 edition with alterations only in the first and second sheets. Instead of the great allegorical composition showing the continents, which appeared in 1608 (see the plates reproduced in Shirley) the same oval area was covered by a map of the world bearing the title .Furthermore, the central cartouche with the dedication to Nassau seems to have been substituted with a small map of the world.

The remaining sheets seems to have been untouched.

This spectacular find throw new light in the genealogical tree of wall map of the world in Holland at the beginning of the XVII century. The argued dependence of Jodocus Hondius map from the Blaeu's great map of 1605 has now to be totally rejected. The subjects of the Shirley's sound observation ("the influence of Blaeu's great map of 1605 is obvious ...") are to be interchanged; likely it was Blaeu who consulted Hondius most recent map on Mercator projection.

With the help of Peter I will try to put some images in his web site. Thanks for your kind attention and sorry for the lenght of this message, which I do hope be of some cartographical interest. I have been authorized by the actual owner, who suddenly decided to sell the map, to broadcast the news and my short outline of the features of the map.



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