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Dutch - French ties in 17th century map production


Dutch - French ties.

In the first half of the 17th century the publishing house Hondius / Janssonius / Blaeu dominated the map publishing in Europe. It is known that at the beginning of the 17th century the French publishers went to Amsterdam, buying those maps not available in Paris.
The Amsterdam publisher Cornelis Danckerts the elder made selling trips to Paris and was associated with Melchior Tavernier, who became at the beginning of the 16th century the most important publisher in Paris. He was very much influenced by the Dutch and must have visited Amsterdam on a regular basis. In 1638 he paid 500 pounds to H.Hondius, and 1000 pounds to Willem Blaeu, most likely in payment for maps he sold in depot. (Fleury, Archives Nationale.s documents du minutier etc. (Paris 969), vol I.p.652).
J.Boisseau copied after or used maps by H.Hondius, J.Jansson, W.Blaeu and C.Danckerts in his "Theatre de Gaules" from 1642. (Reference : Imago Mundi 32. M.Pastoureau, Imago Mundi 32)

In France the pioneer in making world atlases was Nicolas Sanson d’Abbeville and his partner the publisher Pierre Mariette (1603-1657). It is not before 1658 that Mariette produces a folio world atlas with engraved title page Cartes Generales de Toutes les Parties du Monde. The atlas is considered the first folio world atlas published in France. In between 1620 and 1658 an few folio world atlases are produced all without title pages.
These atlases contain a number of maps originating from Amsterdam. Regional maps at that time not available in Paris are completed with Dutch maps, often produced by Jodoocus II and Henricus Hondius, Johannes Janssonius and Cornelis Danckerts. With the Frankfurter Buchmesse allready established, Latin was the common used language for map titles and often text. As a matter of fact the Amsterdam publisher Hondius produced a large number of French maps with French title and even the publishers address in French; "A Amsterdam chez Josse Hondius, et se vend a Paris chez Melchior Tavernier, demeurant aupres du Palais A° 1623". This map was found in the standard Dutch atlases (and in French composite atlases) These maps demonstrating the ties between Paris and Amsterdam in the beginning of the 17th century.
French publishers went to Amsterdam, buying those maps not available in Paris. Also Dutch merchants visited Paris to sell their maps. Several joint ventures are known. The stock of Tavernier included a large number of maps printed in Amsterdam by Jansson, Hondius, Blaeu, C. Danckerts.

Nicolas Sanson (1600-1667) was born in Abbeville, where as a young man he studied history, particularly of the ancient world. At the age of 18 he was said to have compiled his first map. After he moved to Paris the King appointed him 'Geographe Ordinaire du Roi', one of his duties being to tutor the King in geography.
Melchior Tavernier was Paris most active publisher of prints and maps in the beginning of the 17th century. Sanson published his first separate map and atlas of France and Europe with Tavernier.
For unexplained reasons Melchior Tavernier retired trade in 1644. He sold most of his stock of copperplates, prints, maps, architecture books, blank paper, printing press to Pierre Mariette for 11,200 pounds.

Map by Cornelis Danckerts II (1603-1656) are also often found in French composit atlases.
Danckerts II He started his business in Amsterdam in 1633 and was "Papiere const en Caeren verkooper". He was associated with Tavernier.

The Dutch maps found in the French early composite atlases have usually no text on the verso and are printed on thinner paper, most probably to match the paper quality used by the French publishers. The Amsterdam publishers used typically thick and good quality paper, and after 1635 printed text on the verso of their maps.
The early Dutch maps printed on thinner, often off-white paper and withoutout text on the verso are therefore typically printed for the Paris market. It was usual to print the text on the verso before the copperplate map. As the Paris publisher never printed text on the verso the Paris publisher were able to keep a stock of Amsterdam printed maps to assemble them in their atlases.
Of the examples we have handled over our 35 years in the map trade, 90% of the the paper have no watermark, as the French printed maps in the same atlases most often have.
In the few cases the Dutch printed maps have a water mark, their origin is French.(A crowned single French Lily in a shield).

The following maps have no text on verso and typically originating from French composit atlases.



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Author: Paulus Swaen ©2017