A highly decorative 'Carte à Figures' map of Europe, by Jan Jansson, after his father-in-law Jodocus Hondius.
This beautiful map is one for the finest representations of Europe from the great era of Dutch Baroque cartography. Generally, the mapping of the continent assumes a form quite familiar to the modern eye, as many fine surveys had already been conducted. For example, England had been mapped by Christopher Saxton in the 1580s, the Netherlands had been surveyed by Jacob van Deventer in the early 16th century, while Sweden was more recently mapped by Andreas Bureaus. The only exception is the comparatively inaccurate delineation of the north shore of the Black Sea (in the Ukraine), which would not be scientifically mapped until the 1770s.
The map was originally conceived by Jodocus Hondius the Younger as a part of an exceedingly rare Appendix to the Hondius-Mercator Atlas (1630), which included an extra panel of text at the bottom. The present edition was issued by Hondius's brother-in-law, as part of his Atlas Novus (1638). The present Jansson edition is distinguishable by the appearance of Jansson's imprint within a cartouche to the upper right and the removal of the bottom text panel, which was considered to be too cumbersome for inclusion in a folio atlas.
More interesting are the national borders, which are significantly different than those familiar today. Notably, Denmark is shown to still control Scania in Southern Sweden, lands that it would retain until 1658. Sweden is shown to retain Finland, much of the Baltic countries and a part of Prussia, regions it would hold until the early 18th Century. Parts of what are now northern France (ex. Artois, Lille) are still shown to be part of the Spanish Netherlands, while Roussillon, in what is now southern France, is still shown to be part of Spain (these lands would be ceded to France by Spain in 1659). The kingdom of Poland reaches diagonally from Gdynia down to the southeast, past Lvov. Most notably, the Ottoman Empire controls all of southeastern Europe up as far north as a line running through modern Croatia, Hungary and Romania, while also controlling most of the Ukraine.
True to the 'Carte à Figures' style which was the hallmark of the great contemporary period of Dutch Baroque cartography, the map is surrounded on three sides by panels of fine vignettes. Along the top of the map are views of Lisbon, Toledo, London, Paris, Rome and Venice, all after Braun & Hogenberg. Along the left side of the map are depictions of people in local costume from England, France, Belgium, Catalonia and Venice, while on the left side are depictions of the residents of Germany, Hungary, Bohemia, Poland and Greece. The map is further embellished by a fine title cartouche, ships sailing the seas, lions in North Africa and bears in Russia.
The map was originally conceived by Jodocus Hondius the Younger (1594-1629), whose eponymous father played a large part in the rise of Amsterdam as the dominant cartographic production center in the 17th Century. The present edition of the map is by Jan Jansson (1588-1664), who married Jodocus the Younger's sister Elizabeth, and inherited the family business. He transformed the Hondius firm into a powerhouse of geographical publications. Jansson most notably published the Atlas Novus (1638) and the Atlas Major (1660), the 11 volumes of which included a town atlas, a hydrographic atlas, an atlas of the ancient world, and Andreas Cellarius's incomparable celestial atlas. Jansson's works were rivaled during their time only by those of his arch-nemesis Joan Blaeu.
The present map is one of the finest depictions of Europe from the apogee of Dutch cartography. It is also scarce, appearing on the market infrequently.
Jan Janssonius (also known as Johann or Jan Jansson or Janszoon) (1588-1664) was a renowned geographer and publisher of the seventeenth century, when the Dutch dominated map publishing in Europe. Born in Arnhem, Jan was first exposed to the trade via his father, who was also a bookseller and publisher. In 1612, Jan married the daughter of Jodocus Hondius, who was also a prominent mapmaker and seller. Jonssonius’ first maps date from 1616.
In the 1630s, Janssonius worked with his brother-in-law, Henricus Hondius. Their most successful venture was to reissue the Mercator-Hondius atlas. Jodocus Hondius had acquired the plates to the Mercator atlas, first published in 1595, and added 36 additional maps. After Hondius died in 1612, Henricus took over publication; Janssonius joined the venture in 1633. Eventually, the atlas was renamed the Atlas Novus and then the Atlas Major, by which time it had expanded to eleven volumes. Janssonius is also well known for his volume of English county maps, published in 1646.
Janssonius died in Amsterdam in 1664. His son-in-law, Johannes van Waesbergen, took over his business. Eventually, many of Janssonius’ plates were sold to Gerard Valck and Pieter Schenk, who added their names and continued to reissue the maps.