GERARD & LEONARD VALK,
RARE 15 INCH CELESTIAL GLOBE
AMSTERDAM, after 1750.
only 3 other copys
A very rare 15 inch (39cm.) diameter celestial globe made up of two sets of twelve finely engraved and hand-coloured gores and two polar calottes (70°) laid to the ecliptic poles of a papier-maché and plaster sphere, the axis through the celestial poles, the equatorial graduated in individual degrees and labelled every 10°, the ecliptic graduated in individual days of the houses of the Zodiac, with sigils and labelled every ten days.
Title below Cetus in a cartouche : Uranographia Caelum omne hic Complectens, Illa pro ut aucta et ad annum 1750 Completum MAGNO ab HEVELIO correcta est: ita, ejus ex Prototypis, sua noviter haec Ectypa veris Astronomiae culturibus exhibet et consecrat GER. Et LEON VALK; Amsterdaedamensis Cum Priviligio.
Giving the celestial globe its own name is a striking novelty by Valk, which was not imitated by others. “Uranographia” is the title of Johannes Hevelius 1687 celestial atlas, which was also the source for Valk’s celestial globes.
By this Valk introduced a new graphic style of the constellations, by no longer using the ‘old-fashioned’ Saenredam style of Blaeu and Hondius globes. The engraving of the globe was done by the master engraver Carolus de La Haye, based on Andreas Stech’s design.
The date of the epoch (‘et ad annum 1700 Completum’) has been altered by pasting on a ‘50’. A new Advise to the reader is pasted on next to the title cartouche : Propter motum, Stellarum fixarum versus ortum post Annum 1750 additione ¾ gr : Correctio Longitudium ut instituatur, monendus Uranophilus.
Advise to the reader, between Hydra and Argo : MONITUM Novis hisce Sphaeris Novissimus, Ex proesriptio Lotharii Zum Bach Md: Doct.Unus, et alter additus : Horizon: Quorum Is, qui huic Caelesti singularis, Praeter Communes atq. Bissextilem, Ut exactior Luminarium indagetur locus Ad Meridianum Amstelodamens. Plus, quam per Ducentos Annos, Suis Mensum Diebus Appositas Lunae Syzygias, Medio Tempore Medias, Ingeniosa Methodo et eruit, et exhibet a further pasted cartouche in manuscript : propter motum stellarum fixarum verses ortum post annum 1750 additione ¾ gr: correctis longitudinum ut instituatur monendus Uranophilus.
The constellations finely depicted by mythical beasts and figures, a table entitled SUPER EMINET OMNES around a sun face showing the stars to six orders of magnitude, also with symbols for nebulae, all the stars picked out in gilt paint within the finely-engraved constellations depicted by mythical beasts and figures, the constellations and some individual stars labeled in Latin.
With stamped brass meridian circle divided in four quadrants, further stamped with the fabrication serial number 1 on the reverse at the North Pole. (See v.d.Krogt Globi Neerlandici, manufacturing numbers, pp.353-357) The brass hour dial missing.
A minuscule piece of paper on which "50" has been printed is pasted over the date 1700 in the title cartouche to imply an updated globe. The change of date to 1750 did not necessarily occur in 1750, it is certain it occurred before 1763. In that year, the Utrecht van Renwoude Foundation bought a 15-inch globe pair from Valk’s widow. The celestial globe of the pair survived and is updated this way. The person who thought to change the date this way must have been Petrus Schenk II or his son, Petrus Schenk Jr. in whose house the globe factory was established after 1770.
The oak horizon ring with hand-coloured paper ring showing degrees and days of the houses of the Zodiac, and with four scales for the Gregorian calendar for leap years and the three intervening years, with dominical letters and a scale for the old and new moon in Amsterdam, edged in red, and Lotharius Zumbach’s innovative Almanac, with data for leap years and for each of the three intervening years. Gilt stars retouched, with repair of the usual small dents, with some minor manuscript in fill in the globe. The surface of the horizon with substantial surface fading, now carefully redrawn in manuscript.
On a late 18th century oak stand with four turned ebonized legs united by cross-stretchers supporting a circular base and meridian support, with four bun feet. (the four ebonized vertical pillars are reconstructed)
The cartography of the gores on Valk's celestial globe, as stated in the cartouche, is based closely on the celestial atlas Uranographia, published in 1687 by the Polish astronomer Johannes Hevelius (1611-1687) who was notable for being the last great astronomer to conduct his work without the use of a telescope. Hevelius was also notable for designing his celestial maps with globes in mind, and as such they were easily transferred onto spheres.
Reference : v.d.Krogt, Globi Neerlandici, pp. 313-323, VAL III, state 4.
A rare celestial globe, V.d.Krogt only mentions three other copies (Sheepvaart Museum, Amsterdam 2x, Van de Vrij-Vrouwe van Renswoude Foundation, Utrecht)
Gerard Valk, or Gerard Leendertz Valck (1652-1726)
was, together with his son Leonard, the only significant publisher of globes in the Netherlands in the eighteenth century, enjoying an almost total monopoly in the first few decades. The Netherlands had, in the previous century, been the main centre of globe-production in Europe, with the masters Blaeu and Hondius issuing some of the finest and most beautiful globes ever made. By 1700, however Coronelli had taken over their mantle and was issuing globes from France and Italy, and the Dutch were left with simply reissuing the Blaeu globes, in some cases entirely unaltered.
Gerard Valk was soon to surpass all other Dutch competition with the accuracy and beauty of his globes, albeit that his nearest rivals were using cartography that was already 50 years out of date.
Valk learnt globe making from his instructor in mathematics, navigation and cartography, Pieter Maasz Smit (fl.1680-1700); in Smit's 1698 manual on globe-making he mentions that one of his pupils intends to make and publish some new globes, and that pupil was the previously unknown Gerard Valk.
Initially an engraver and art dealer, and having worked for map-seller Christopher Browne and David Loggan in London between 1672 and 1679, Valk established his firm in Amsterdam in 1687 in co-operation with his brother-in-law Petrus Schenk (c.16661-1711). Initially they published maps and atlases, but in 1700 the company moved the shop to the building previously occupied by Jodocus Hondius.
In 1701, presumably inspired by the illustrious history of the premises he now inhabited, and by the teachings of Smit, he applied for a charter for making globes and the "Planetolabium", designed by Lotharius Zumbach de Coesfelt (1661-1727), an astronomy lecturer at Leiden University. Zumbach was a not uninfluential figure, and his support was of great help to Valk. It was also Zumbach who designed the innovative horizon rings found on Valk's globes, with data for leap years and for each of the three intervening years.
Valk issued his first pair of 12-inch diameter globes in 1701, dated 1700. Around the same time, he also published his globe manual 't Werkstellige der Sterrekonst, an updated version of Blaeu's Tweevoudigh Onderwijs.
The Valks produced several editions of 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18 and 24-inch diameter globes.
Around 1711, when he became a member of the bookseller's guide, Gerard's son Leonard (1675-1746) came into partnership and his name started to appear alongside that of his father on the cartouches of the globes, although of the earliest of these globes still bearing the date 1700.
Leonard did not update his globes, and the prestigious position which the Valk family had disappeared.
Following Leonard's death, the firm was run by Maria Valk. Maria continued to issue globes with the unchanged gores by simply, pasting a minuscule piece of paper on which "5" or a "50" was printed over 1700 to imply an updated globe. The change of date to 1750 did not necessarily occur in 1750, it is certain it occurred before 1763. The person who tought to change the date this way must have been Petrus Schenk II or his son, Petrus Schenk Jr. in whose house the globe factory was established after 1770.
The nineteenth century saw a number of successful reissues and even an original 12-inch terrestrial globe by publisher Cornelis Covens (1764-1825), who had taken over
the firm in about 1800.
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