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Leo Belgicus map by Claes Jansz. Visscher with an unrecorded date (1641),

the most important edition of all Leo Maps being the birth certificate of an Independent Country.

Leo Belgicus map by Claes Jansz. Visscher with an unrecorded date (1641).

It is well-known that the 'Leo' maps are a symbol of strength and bravery in their heraldic representation. The series of Leo-maps should be placed in the context of the Eighty Years' War or "Dutch War of Independence" (1566-1648). They symbolized the revolt of the Seven United Provinces of the Netherlands against the Spanish (Habsburg) Empire.
LEO BELGICUS. Johan van Doetechum fecit [Amsterdam] C.J.Visscher Excudit, Anno 1641. (Amsterdam, 1641) 34.0 x 55.0 cm. Original o/l. colours. Margins cut to the plate mark, with some very minor fraying along lower part. Repair of a tear 5cm. into engraved area, next to lower part center fold. A very good and dark impression. Only know example.

US $ 65,000

The year of 1641 marked a turning point in the "Dutch War of Independence". On July 27th 1641, Frederick Hendrik captured the town of Gennep in the provence of Geldern.
In the same year general peace negotiations were initiated in the catholic city of Münster, and the prostestant city of Osnabruck, including the main participants in the Thirty Years' War: France, Sweden, Spain, the Emperor and the Republic.
Though not formally recognized as an independent state, the Dutch republic was for the first time allowed to participate in these peace negotiations. Even Spain did not oppose to this.
The drafting of the instructions for the Dutch delegation occasioned spirited debate. Holland made sure that it was not barred from their formulation.
The Dutch demands eventually agreed upon were:
• cession by Spain of the entire Meierij district;
• recognition of Dutch conquests in the Indies (both East and West);
• permanent closure of the Scheldt to Antwerp commerce;
• tariff concessions in the Flemish ports; and
• lifting of the Spanish trade embargoes.
In the meantime the war continued, although the heartland of the republic was no longer threatened. The war ended finally in 1648 with the Peace of Münster. The Dutch Republic was officially recognised as an independent country.

The invitation in 1641 and/or the outcome of the negotiations must have inspired Claes Jansz. Visscher to publish this updated version of the Leo map. It can be seen as the birth certificate of the new nation.

Claes Jansz. Visscher acquired the copperplate from Henricus Hondius of The Haque.
He added two medallions portraits to the plate of the contemporary rulers and negotiators Prince Frederik Hendrik of Orange (Stadholder 1625-1647) FREDERICUS HENRICUS PRINCEPS ARAUSIO COMTES ETC. GUBERNATOR FOEDERAT PROVIN BELGIO, and the Spanish Archduke Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand (Governor of the Low Countries from 1634-1641).
Ferdinand died on 9th November 1641, therefore the plate will have been published before November 1641.

It was not before 1650, two years after the peace of Münster which ended the War, that C.Jz. Visscher changed the date (1650) and started selling the plate, likely on a larger scale, as of this is the most commonly found state.

LEO BELGICUS Johan van Doetechum fecit [Amsterdam] C.J.Visscher Excudit, Anno 1641. Copper engraving in original outline colours. 430 x 550mm.
Margins cut to the plate mark, with some very minor fraying along lower part. Repair of a tear 5cm. into engraved area, next to lower part center fold. A very good and dark impression. Very good condition.

Buy It Now US $ 65,000

The uptil now three known states (1598, 1630 and 1650) are described in :
- H.A.M. van der Heijden, Leo Belgicus, Alphen a/d Rijn, 2006, map 3, pages 31-35.
- G.Schilder, Monumenta, Vol. VI., map 50.
This 1641 state is unknown to Prof. G.Schilder (and Van der Heijden) and is unrecorded.

- First state: 2 copies are recorded.
- Second state, 2 copies are recorded. When Henricus Hondius of the Hague acquired the copper plate from the Van Doetecum family (between 1626 and 1630) and republished the map in 1630 he did update the coat of arms of England.
Although Prince Maurice and the Archduke Albert had already died, the captions below their medallions remained unchanged.
- Third state (now fourth state) : C.J. Visscher, dated 1650, 8 examples are located by van der Heijden and prof. Schilder and recently one other example sold at Sotheby's. London, 9th May, 1212, lot 47.

- Claes Jansz. Visscher must have acquired the copper plate from Henricus Hondius already around 1641 and not, as suggested by Günter Schilder and Henk van der Heijden in 1650, at the death of Henricus Hondius.

- With the discovery of this example of Visscher's edition, with the date 1641, it becomes much clearer why Visscher dated the map 1641 and why he added the medallions portraits of Archduke Ferdinand (Governor 1634-1641) and Prince Frederik Hendrik of Orange (Stadholder 1625-1647) to the plate. To insert these new portraits the title had to be moved and broken off, the tail of the lion shortened and lowered.

- The text panel is also updated. The last lines of the Dutch text now read : (...) ende hooggeborene Ferdinandus Infans Cardinael en de Edelen en meer dan Martium Frederik Hendrick die beyde tegenwoordelick regiere. So Ferdinandus was still alive at the date of publication.
- Other changes included the adornment of the sea, which was changed completely and was now filled with nine vessels.

- Ironically the Lion now stands on a hatched base. It looks like Visscher wanted to say that the the Republic finally had found grounds. This edition (of 1641) is there for the most important edition of all Leo Maps and being the birth certificate of an Independent Country. !

The House of Orange-Nassau, Frederik Hendrik up to Willem-Alexander.
Frederick Henry, or Frederik Hendrik in Dutch (29th January 1584-14th March 1647), was the sovereign Prince of Orange and stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders, and Overijssel from 1625 to 1647.
As the leading soldier in the Dutch wars against Spain, his main achievement was The successful Siege of 's-Hertogenbosch in 1629, It was the main Spanish base, and a well-fortified city protected by an experienced Spanish garrison, and by formidable water defenses. Other sieges and captures are those of Grol in 1627, of Maastricht in 1632, of Breda in 1637, of Sas van Gent in 1644, and of Hulst in 1645.
He was the younger brother of Maurits, and a far more capable statesman and politician. For twenty-two years he remained at the head of government in the United Provinces, and in his time the power of the stadtholderate reached its highest point.
The "Period of Frederick Henry," as it is usually styled by Dutch writers, is generally accounted the golden age of the republic. It was marked by great military and naval triumphs, by worldwide maritime and commercial expansion, and by a wonderful outburst of activity in the domains of art and literature.
Frederick Henry built the country houses Huis Honselaarsdijk, Huis ter Nieuwburg, and for his wife Huis ten Bosch, and he renovated the Noordeinde Palace in The Hague. Huis Honselaarsdijk and Huis ter Nieuwburg are now demolished.

The House of Orange-Nassau (in Dutch: Huis van Oranje-Nassau) a branch of the European House of Nassau, has played a central role in the politics and government of the Netherlands and at times in Europe, especially since William I of Orange (also known as "William the Silent") who became the founder of the House of Orange-Nassau. In 1815, after a long period as a republic, the Netherlands became a monarchy under the House of Orange-Nassau.
It was William I, born Willem Frederik Prins van Oranje-Nassau (24th August 1772-12th December 1843), who was a Prince of Orange and the first King of the Netherlands in 1815.
William III of The Netherlands, who reigned from 1849 until 1890 was the last King and since then, the Netherlands have only had queens on the throne, and no Kings. Willem-Alexander is the First Dutch King in 123 Years when he took over the throne on 30th April of this year.