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The North Pole.

Blaeu, Guillaume & Jean. Polus Arcticus. "Regiones Sub Polo Artico. Auctore Guiljelmo Blaeu." Amsterdam Apud Johannem Guiljelmi F. Blaeu. c1645
Original coloured, copper engraved map of the North Pole from Joan Blaeu's "Theatrum Orbis terrarum, sive atlas novus ." Double page; folio; Latin text to verso.
Blaeu`s beautifully engraved map of the arctic was first issued c.1638 and is a precise copy of a map issued by Janssonius the previous year. Burden notes "even the cartouches are the same. But Janssonius has placed his imprint in the lower right cartouche; Blaeu has the scale here." Along with the original Janssonius, Blaeu's map "provides the first detailed summary of the 16th and early 17th century Canadian arctic discoveries" (Kershaw).
To the left we see the discoveries of captain Thomas James of Bristol along the southern and western shores of the Hudson Bay during his expedition of 1631/32 (with, among others, "James his Bay"). Spitsbergen is drawn as it was known after the Danish expeditions of 1605-1607.
The map provides the best view of the period of discoveries in the area of Hudson's and Baffin's Bays as well as Davis Strait. It is a vast improvement over the Mercator map of the region, whose North Pole was filled with mythical islands.
In its day this map was the most up-to-date map of the North Pole region available. Bright original outline colour; good impression; light stain to lower right blank margin.

Willem Janszoon Blaeu [1571- 1668] had set up the business in Amsterdam 1596 following studies with the famous astonomer Tycho Brahe.
In 1630 Willhem published his first atlas "Atlas Appendix", having published maritime cartography, books, charts and pilot guides for previous thirty years.
Appointed Hydrographer of the V. O. C. ( United East India Company)in 1633 he died in 1638. leaving the company to his sons Joan and Cornelius
Of Cornelius little is know; his name appearing on in the prefaces of books and atlases only until c1645.

Dr Joan Blaeu [ 1596-1673] who had studied at Leiden took over the management of the business and established its fame. He was also appointed Hydrographer to the V. O. C. ( 1638), but his interests leant more to geography than maritime cartography. His aim was" a full description of heaven, earth and water" ( Koeman) which was unachievable. but his work produced the magnificent "Atlas Major" and the Town books of the Netherlands and Italy; works unsurpassed in history and modern times.

The "Theatrum Orbis Terrarum " or "Atlas Novus" Willem Blaeu's great project enlarging the "Appendix" was advertised in 1634, was first published in a preliminary edition in 1635. (preface dated 10-3-1634) two volumes.
The final edition comprising again two volumes with 109 & 99 maps respectively with German text also published 1635; an edition with Dutch text, (preface dated 22-4-1635) 104 & 103 maps; French text( preface dated 1-7-1635) 105 & 103 maps; and with Latin text (preface dated "ipsis Aprillis")105 & 102 maps.

In 1640, after Willem's death a Third volume with French text and comprising 58 maps of Italy and 8 of Greece, was published; later the same year an edition was produced with Latin text.
Still in 1640, variant editions in both languages were issued with an appendix of 4 maps of the British Isles as a precursor to the Fourth volume, which would be a complete description thereof.

In 1645 the Fourth volume, "Le Theatre du Monde ou Nouvel Atlas, Mis en lumiere par Guillaume et Jean Bleau. Quartiesme Partie." with a dedication to " A la serinissme Princesse Henriette-Marie Reine de la Grande Bretagne, France & Yrlande." was published; preface dated 1 October 1645.
This volume consisted of 58 maps with description of all the British Isles.

The "Atlas Novus" was eventually extended to six volumes with the addition of a fifth volume, Scotland in 1654 and the following year a sixth the "Atlas Sinensis"of Martini.

Joan Blaeu recognised that the wealthy patrons who would buy such an atlas were primarily concerned with display, thus aesthetic considerations were emphasised: the quality of the paper, binding, beautiful typography and bright colour, making maps from the Blaeu printing house amongst the most decorative of their time.

Blaeu eventually updated and extended the "Theatrum" producing the "Atlas Major" in various formats from 9-12 volumes
Koeman1, Bl 23A; Burden 252. 415 by 532mm (16ΒΌ by 21 inches).   ref: 3094  €900

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