Antiquarian Auctions

Auction #74 begins on
18 Apr 2019 16:30 GMT

Willem Blaeuw

Africae nova descriptio [A new description of Africa]

Published: Willem Blaeuw, Amsterdam, 1634/5

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This  landmark carte-a-figure map was published in 1634/5 and made by one of the Dutch master mapmakers. The map is in the uncommon 2nd state: Blaeuw (or Blaeu) signed the map using the name Guiljelemo (William) Blaeuw, having changed his surname in 1617 from Guil. Janssonio (i.e. Janssonius), which also was the surname of his arch-rival, Johannes Janssonius. 

  Guil. Janssonio changed his surname in 1621 to Blaeuw, the only change to the copper plate until 1647 when some re-engraving was done to decorative elements. The features of this map predate those changes. The German verso text indicates publication in 1634/5 - the 4th or 5th printing from a plate that was used for about 26 printings over five decades. 

  Blaeu’s cartographical model is after Ptolemy and this folio map is derived from his 1608 wall map. The nine vignettes above the map are scenes from the European classical history of Africa. The side panels depict European visualisation of the some of the indigenous peoples of Africa.The image at the bottom right is of the “The inhabitants of the Cape of Good Hope eating intestines". This forms part of the "Wild Man" myth/tradition and provides a perspective on how Europeans thought about societies they considered primitive.  

  The map is on firm paper that had small areas of loss that were professionally replaced; the back of the page lined with archival lens paper to support and conserve the map. The imprint is strong and the colour old. The paper is age toned and there is some remaining evidence of the map having been mounted on non-archival paper.

References: Betz (Mapping of Africa) #57.2, p; Tooley (Collectors' Guide to Maps of Africa ....) p. 29; Norwich (Maps of Africa) #32.

  • Overall Condition: Fair (but restored)
  • Size: 46.0cm x 36.0cm
  • Sold By: Roger Stewart Antiquarian
  • Contact Person: Roger Stewart
  • Country: South Africa
  • Email:
  • Telephone: +27836541081
  • Preferred Payment Methods: LOCAL: EFT; INTERNATIONAL: PAYPAL or Bank Transfer; no credit cards
  • Trade Associations: IMCOS

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