The nine-volume set comprises:
Volume I. World, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe, 1664, 90 maps and plates, including 5 plans and 9 plates illustrating Tycho Brahe’s astronomical observatory on the island of Ven in Oresund (after the woodcuts in Brahe’s Astronomiae insauratae mechanicae, published in Wandsbeck in 1598), where Johannes Blaeu’s father Willem was assistant and student for a time. The maps of Slesvig are part of the series originally published in Caspar Danckwerth and Johannes Mejer’s Newe Landesbeschreibung der zweij Herzogthumer Schleswig and Holstein (1652)
Volume II. Germany and Switzerland, 1664, 107 maps including the balance of the Danckwerth and Mejer maps of 1652
Volume III. The Netherlands and the United Netherlands, 1664, 65 maps
Volume IV. England and Wales, 1662, 58 maps
Volume V. Scotland and Ireland, 1662, 55 maps. Most of these are based on the manuscript surveys of Timothy Pont and Robert Gordon, which were printed for the first time in 1654
Volume VI. France, no date, 66 maps
Volume VII. Italy and Greece, no date, 67 maps
Volume VIII. Spain, Africa and the Americas, 1665, 64 maps. These include maps largely based on the woks of Johannes de Laet, as well as the fine group of Brazilian maps showing the (by then) former Dutch colonies. These are after the series originally published by Blaeu in 1647 in Caspar Barlaeus’s Rerum per octennium in Brasilia and show the remarkable vignettes after the designs of the painter Frans Janzoon Post (c.1612-1680)
Volume IX. Asia, China and Japan, 1664, 28 maps. Essentially two atlases in one, these maps include the set of 17 of China and Japan after Martino Martini, SJ, which first appeared in the Novus atlas sinensis which Blaeu had issued in 1655
The maps and volumes of the Dutch edition of the Atlas Major vary from the 10, 11 and 12 volumes of the Spanish, Latin and French text editions respectively. The arrangement of the text, maps and plates is more or less the same but in volumes 8 and 9 the American section is placed immediately after Africa in volume 8 and not after the Asian division in volume 9. In all other editions the Americas is bound last – reflecting the traditional arrangement going back to the time of Ptolemy.
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