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Setting the new trend for Amsterdam Atlas production :
Joducus Hondius jr. atlas of 1630 and the sale of copper plates to Willem Blaeu

One of the most dramatic events in the early history of commercial cartography in Amsterdam was the sale in 1629 of circa 40 Jocodus Hondius Jr. copperplates by his widow to Willem Jansz. Blaeu, the most important competitor of the Hondius-Janssonius firm.
Blaeu replaced Jodocus Hondius Jr's name with his own on the plates and, the following year, had published them together with his own maps. His brother Henricus Hondius, angry at the sale of plates to their competitor, engaged engravers to cut similar plates or better and finer, and which should be ready within eighteen months.
Above all these Jodocus Hondius Jr. plates mark the new engraving style and format, and hereby set the new trend in Amsterdam atlas production.

The publishing company by the father Jodocus Hondius Sr. (1563-1612), who obtained publishing rights to the Mercator Atlas, was continued after his death by his widow Collette van den Keere, his son-in-law Johannes Janssonius, and in 1620 by his sons Jodocus Jr. and Henricus in his shop on the Kalverstraat.

Henricus Hondius (1596/7-1651) established himself on the Dam, 'sub insigno Atlantis'. After his marriage in 1625, he seems to have been the sole publisher of the Mercator / Hondius Atlas from 1623 until 1633. After the death of his brother Jodocus Jr. and on December 31st of his mother (both died in 1629), Henricus moved back to his father's house. According to J.Keunig, from that time on the whole publishing business is in the hands of Hendricus.

Jodocus Hondius Jr. was born in 1593, and his earliest signed publication was a map of Scandinavia, issued in 1613. In June 1621, Jodocus Jr. married Anne Staffmaecker, and moved into a shop on the Dam, where he established his own publishing business. From the period 1621 onwards, Jodocus Jr. published a small number of maps, including several "figured border" maps, including maps of the four continents, the British Isles and Brabant. Jodocus Jr. also acted independently already at an early date, according to a resolution of the States-General of June 28, 1613, ordaining that to "Jodoco Hondio de Jonge, is toegeleyt de somme van drye hondert gulden in eens, voor de dedicatie ende presentatie, bij hem volgens de orde van synen vader saliger, aen haere Ho. Mo. gedaen, van twee groote Globen..."
In 1618 Jodocus Jr. published the important map "Nova Virginiae Tabula", engraved by Dirk Grijp, being the first and most important derivative of John Smith's map of Virginia originally published in 1612. (Burden, America, 193). Dirk Grijp, who was a engraver active in Amsterdam and worked for the Hondius family and also engraved some plates for John Speed's "A Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World", by George Humble in 1626. Other engravers who worked for Hondius are Abraham Goos, Salomon Rogiers, Evert Sijmonsz van Hamersveldt.

Very little is known about the cooperation between the Hondius' brothers and their brother-in-law. Aside from the partnership in the continuation of Jodocus Sr's workshop (1612), it seems all three successively started their own bussinesses. However, from the map of Orange of 1627, it appears that a cooperation certainly extended as far as that year, as the map has a dedication by Jud. et Henr. Hondius to Frederick Henry.
In 1628, the French edition of the Mercator/Hondius Atlas no longer contains the map of Gallia by Jodocus Hondius Jr., this has been replaced by the old Mercator map, all Mercator maps are once more present, however, twenty of them have now been provided with the publisher's address of Henricus Hondius, eleven of these maps carry the year of the change 1627.
According to Peter van the Krogt in Atlantes Neerlandici Jodocus Hondius Jr. and his younger brother Henricus Hondius where competitors !

Jodocus Hondius Jr., since at least 1618, when he published the "Nova Virginia Tabula" map, produced folio sized maps with in mind publishing a new modern atlas to compete with his brother's Atlas, less dependent on the Mercator plates that his father had acquired in 1604.
In 1629, about 40 copperplates are available and they all clearly mark a new engraving style and format; hereby setting a new trend:
- The maps are no longer depending on the Mercator maps.
- are slightly larger in size (37 x 47cm) than the Mercator maps; but smaller than the loose sheet "figured bordered" maps produced in the years before.
- have Mannerist - Barocque style cartouches.
The typical Amsterdam "cartouche" introduced in Amsterdam's 'Golden Age' is thus introduced by Jodocus Hondius Jr. A cartouche typicaly framed the map's title, the maker's name, scale, dedication and often added decoration featuring the area. The interlaced strapwork and fretwork frames are replaced by a cartouche in a more asymmetrical shape in the Mannerist style, with Baroque motifs, drawn from nature, with figurative imagery, based on classical mythology and allegorical themes!

The proto Appendix.
According to Peter van der Krogt in Atlantes Neerlandici, "it would make sense that Jodocus Hondius Jr. has put together 'ad hoc collections' of the maps all ready to stimulate further interest or presumably for display in autumn 1629 at the Frankfurt bookfair. But before he could realize his plans, Jodocus Jr. died in 1629."
In 1993, a collection of 47 maps with a letterpress title page was offered at Christies. The title reads : Appendix Atlantis Maioris. Per Iodocum Hondium Anno 1630. This copy was in the possession of Honoré d'Agut, councellor in the Parliament at Aix en Provence, who died in 1631. The atlas has a bound-in worldmap by Cornelis Danckerts and Melchior Tavernier of 1628. We therefore assume the atlas was assembled in 1630, it contains the largest number of maps of the the known copies of this proto-Appendix atlas and has 8 bound in maps with the signature of Henricus Hondius !

Presumably after Jodocus's Hondius Jr death on August 18th, 1629, about 40 of his copperplates were sold to Willem Jansz. Blaeu. After purchasing the copperplates, Blaeu bought out his first atlas Atlantis Appendix sive Pars Altera, in 1630 without text and with 60 maps, and 34 of them with the altered Jodocus Hondius Jr. plates.
It would mark one of the most dramatic events in the early history of commercial cartography in Amsterdam!

The sale of copper plates to their competitor Willem Blaeu, must have taken place before March 2nd, 1630. On this date Henricus Hondius and Johannes Janssonius engaged the engravers Salomon Rogiers and Evert Sijmonsz. Hamersveldt to cut plates similar to the ones sold. This history is rather well-documented by a notary contract, signed on March 2nd, 1630.
According to the contract ". . . these 36 copper plates should be ready within eighteen months, should be accurate, finer and better than the maps given to the engravers. . . ."
The reason why the widow of Jodocus Sr. in 1629 did sell copper plates to Blaeu, and not to Henricus Hondius is not known to us. In any case, Henricus was very unpleased with it and in the "Advertissement au lecteur" of his Mercator Atlas of 1633, he calls the atlas by Blaeu a hotch-potch of old maps ("un ramas de cartes anciennes"), collected from their atlas.

Fact is that four of the five known atlases include one or more newly produced maps by Henricus Hondius. These maps are dated 1628 or 1629, and are for the first time included in Henricus Hondius' Latin Mercator/Hondius Atlas of 1630, and in the newly published Appendix of 1631. Johannes Janssonius' also used them in his Appendix, first published in 1630. It is this Appendix by Janssonius which contains some of the allready finished new copper plates by Salomon Rogiers and Evert Sijmons van Hamersveldt, followed by the Appendix of Henricus in 1631. Both atlases, althrough published by different publishers contain maps of each other.
The year 1630 is certainly the birth year of Amsterdam Atlas production; with the introduction of Blaeu's first Atlas production and Janssonius new atlas, both called "Appendix" and the addition of new plates to the Latin Mercator / Hondius atlas by Henricus Hondius!
It is not until 1633 that a atlas appears on the market with Latin text, the Appendix was therefor seen as a complementation to the Mercator/Hondius Atlas.

It has been suggested that perhaps Jodocus Hondius, or his widow, have put together 'ad hoc collections' of the maps allready to stimulate further interest or presumably for display in autumn 1629 at the Frankfurt bookfair, we think that actually these known atlases have been prepared by Henricus Hondius.
- Henricus Hondius and Jodocus Hondius Jr. were competitors it is unlikely that Henricus would have sold his newly printed maps to Jodocus Jr. or his widow.
- All known atlases containing the newly engraved maps by Henricus Hondius, but no maps by Janssonius who where allready available in 1630.
- Three copies of the atlas containing the map "De Hertochdommen Gulick Cleve Berghe". The copperplate was originally produced by Willem Blaeu in 1610, but afterwards acquired by Hondius/Janssonius.
- The atlases we have seen are assembled from stock paper.
- The Henricus Hondius Latin edition of 1630 contains for the first time "Sabaudia ducatus. La Savoié. Sculptum apud A. Goos. Amstelodami Jodocus Hondius excudit". This copperplate was not acquired by Blaeu. Henricus must have aquired this copper plate and probably the remaining stock from the widow of Jodocus Jr.
- After the death of his brother Jodocus Jr. and his mother (both who died in 1629), Henricus moved back to his father's house. Henricus seems to have been the sole publisher of the Mercator / Hondius Atlas until 1633. The widow of Jodocus Hondius Jr sold several, but not all, of the copperplates to Blaeu; it is likely that Hondius/ Janssonius bought the remaining stock of copperplates and paper. Several of the older plates by Jodocus Hondius Jr. are used in the Henricus Hondius Appendix and Theatrum atlasses.
- Because the contract between the publishers and the engravers included that the "copperplates should be ready within eighteen months, should be accurate, finer and better than the maps given to the engravers" we may conclude that Henricus Hondius bought the Jodocus Hondius Jr. map stock of remaining loose leaves, and wanted to have his atlas published in 1631 at the latest.
- Henricus Hondius was also associated with the Paris bookseller, Melchior Tavernier (1594-1665). We resently sold an early composite atlas by Mariette / Sanson, containg a large number of maps by Henricus Hondius, and including the Freti Magellanici map by Jodocus Hondius Jr. The loose sheet maps were probably aquired by Marriette around 1645, and Henricus Hondius was therefore likely in the possession of printed sheets from his brother's stock.
It is known that at the beginning of the 17th century the French publishers went to Amsterdam, buying those maps not available in Paris. Melchior Tavernier, who became at the beginning of the 16th century the most important publisher in Paris must have visited Amsterdam on a regular basis. In 1638 he paid 500 livres to Henricus Hondius, most likely in payment for maps he sold in depot. (Fleury, Archives Nationale.s documents du minutier etc. (Paris 969), vol I.p.652).

It is my assumption that Henricus assembled these atlases in late 1629 and or 1630; added some of his newest plates, and must have assured his future buyers having the atlas ready in 1631 with maps similar - or better- than the ones in the presentation copies.

The following examples are recorded.
Six examples are recorded by v.d.Krogt, none have the map of Nuremberg, "Territorium Norimbergense";

- British Library, London, with 24 loose maps (formerly J Keuning's copy described in Imago Mundi IV p.65);
- The National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh.
- The only copy held in the Netherlands is in the Maritime Museum of Rotterdam (W.A Engelbrecht Collection) and contains 42 maps.
- In 1993, a collection of 47 maps with a title page and a manuscript table of contents and starts with a world map by Cornelis Danckerts and Melchior Tavernier of 1628 was offered at Christies.
- Our company owned a collection of loose maps in the 1990's.
- The (ex-) Lord Wardington (Oxon) copy, with 29 of which 27 have the JH signature. Of the 6 recorded copies only the ex-Wardington copy is coloured.

Krogt, Koeman's Atlantes Neerlandici, volume I, page 35, 123 - 127, 1:201.



2° (430 x 300mm). The atlas is bound in contemporary vellum panelled in gilt with a central strapwork cartouche , containing 40 double-page engraved maps, versos blank, most with wide margins, on various paper stocks, a few maps with corners restored, several with strengthening and restoration to center-folds.

The majority of maps assembled in the atlas only known in six or lesser examples. The maps in this collection comprise 4 sheets with Henricus Hondius imprints dated 1628 or 1629.

All maps are in very fine contemporary colouring (only one other coloured example is recorded) containing 36 maps with the signature of Jodocus Hondius, most maps only known in six or lesser examples. Four maps with the signature of Henricus Hondius and the maps dated 1628 (Utrecht, Albis) and 1629 (Brabantie, Comitatus Hollandiae novissima descriptio designatore Balthazaro Florentio a Berckenrode. - ref. Blonk, Hollandia map 43, first state).

The atlas is in very fine colouring, decorative gilted vellum binding and clearly a "show piece" : Setting standard for the Amsterdam atlas production.

This item has been sold

Jodocus Hondius Jr.
Willem Blaeu
Johannes Jansson
1630 (source : Barry Ruderman)

Including an until now unrecorded map "Territorium Norimbergense" of Nuremberg with the signature of Jodocus Hondius. Interestingly, an almost identical Johanness Janssonius edition exists of this map, but was not listed in the contract made up on March 2nd, 1630 between Henricus Hondius, Joannes Janssonius and the engravers Evert Symontsz Hamersvelt and Salomon Rogiers. The Janssonius version of the plate was first published in the Janssonius' Appendix from 1630.



 1. Nova Virginia Tabula.
2. Terra Firma et Novum Regnum Granatense.
3. Venezuela.
4. Guiana.
5. Novus Brasiliae typus.
6. Peru.
7. Paraguay.
8. Freti Magellanici.
9. Chili.
10 Sabaudia Ducatus La Savoie.
11 Novissima et Accuratissima Brabantiae Ducatus Tabula. Amstelodami, sumptibus Henrici Hondii..1629.
12 Commitatus Hollandia. (H.Hondius. 1629)
13. Rheni, Vahalis et Mosae. (H.Hondius.)
14. Frisia Occidentalis.
15. Episcop. Ultraiectinus.1628. (H.Hondius.)
16. Groninga Dominium.
17. Celeberrimi Fluvii Albis nova delineatio. 1628
18. Ducatus Luneburgensis .
19. Meklenburg Ducatus. (S.Rogiers sculp)
20. Pomeraniae Ducatus tabula. (S.Rogiers sculp)
21. Prussiae nova tabula.
22. Bohemia.
23. Moravia Marchionatus.
24. Austria Archiducatus.
25. Alpinae seu Foederatae Rhaetiae. (Evert Symons z. Hamers veldt sculp)
26. Sueviae nova tabula.
27. Territorium Norimbergense.
28. Erpach comitatus.
29. Nassovia comitatus.(Salomon Rogiers sculpsit)
30. Westphalia Ducatus.
31. Coloniensis Archiepiscopatus.
32. Paderbornensis Episcopatus.
33. Osnabrugensis Episcopatus.
34. Monasteriensis episcopatus.
35. Mediolanum Ducatus. (D.Gryp)
36. Genovesato. Serenissima Reipublicae Genuensis. (D.Gryp)
37. Mantua Ducatus.
38. Montisferrati Ducatus.
39. Terra Sancta..1629
40. Moluccae Insulae.

Contract between Henricus Hondius, Joannes Janssonius and the engravers Evert Symontsz Hamersvelt and Salomon Rogiers:

"II March 1630. For me, Palm, Mathijsz, notary at Amsterdam have appeared Jan Jansz. and Hendrick Hondius, booksellers on one side and Evert Symontsz Hamersvelt and Salomon Rogiers, engravers, on the other side. They have agreed that the following 36 maps will be cut and etched at the following conditions:

These 36 maps have to be ready 18 months after this date, should be accurate and fine, yes, finer and better and not less in quality than the maps given to the engravers. The principals will pay the undertakers 100 carolus guilders for each engraved plate and will also pay the copperplate itself and the polishing. Five hundred guilders will be paid in advance in order to afford the undertakers to pay the labourers.
During the period mentioned above both Jan Jansz. and Henderick Hondius will not be allowed to employ any of the following engravers : Balthasar Floris, Daniel van Breen, Abraham Goos, Dirck Grijp, Salomon Svery or any one else who should be employed by the undertakers, with exemption of Josua van den Ende and Pieter van den Keere.
If Salomon Rogier came to die within the aforsaid period, it will be up to Evert Symontsz to decide if he wants to stop or continue with the work, by lack of a good letter engraver. If Evert Symonsz. xame to die within the aforesaid period, Salomon Rogiers is forced to complete the task, provided that more time will be available for him."

Above is a summery of the contract published in K. & S. p. 1490-1491.

More reading :
Johannes Keuning's 'Jodocus Hondius Jr.' (Imago Mundi, IV, p.63ff, Reprint edition, Amsterdam, Nico Israel,, 1965).
Gunter Schilder's "The World Map Of 1624 By Willem Jansz. Blaeu & Jodocus Hondius" page 10,
Koeman, Atlantes Neerlandici, Vol.I, pg. 344-348,
Peter van der Krogt, Koeman's Atlantes Neerlandici New Edition, Volume 1, The Folio Atlases Published By Gerard Mercator Jodocus Hondius, p.125.

Zoom-able images of some of the 40 maps in this atlas.


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