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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Map of the Day: "West Indische Paskaert" Johannes Loots

Copperplate engraving with original hand color
Paper size: 33 1/4” x 39 3/4” Frame size: 42 3/8” x 49 1/4”
Amsterdam, ca. 1695
Literature: Schilder, Monumenta, Vol. IV, p.114, 63.4; Burden, The Mapping of North America, Map 233, State 4

A Map of Landmark Importance: The First Sea Chart Relating to North America to Use Gerard Mercator’s Projection

This is the Johannes Loots state of Willem Blaeu’s second West Indische Paskaert (ca. 1630), a map of landmark importance, being the first sea chart relating to North America to use Gerard Mercator’s projection. The copperplate for the map passed through the hands of Jacob Robijn, who probably acquired it at one of the sales of the Blaeu’s stock in 1674, to Pieter Goos and lastly Loots. Although changes were made to the cartouches, the geographical content of the sea chart remains unchanged. Blaeu here attempts to improve the depiction of the area between New York Harbor and Chesapeake Bay, one which confused Blaeu in his first Paskaert (1621). However, he abandons Delaware Bay altogether, retrieving the old favorite C. de las Arenas.

It is probable that the sea chart was originally intended for the sole use of the Dutch West India Company and the map shows the area chartered to the Company in 1621. The latest geographical information included is derived from the voyage of the Admiral L’Hermite to Tierra del Fuego between 1623 and 1626. The map extends from Ireland to New-Foundland in the north and to the Cape of Good Hope and Rio de la Plata in the south, and from the Gulf of Mexico in the west to Greece in the east. An inset map in the interior of South America shows that part of the continent which could not be included in the main map. Even by the latter part of the seventeenth century, this map remained enormously important for Western navigation to Brazil, because it was only in 1685 that the first charts of the Brazilian coast were published by Robijn.

The interior of North and South America is richly decorated with the coats of arms of the ruling countries, Portugal, Spain, France, The Netherlands and Germany. Africa is magnificently decorated with a title cartouche, and a number of animals. Europe has coats-of-arms of the European countries, several ships in the waters, compass-cards and scales. 

Offered at $190,000

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