Lot 32.  Leo Hollandicus by Visscher, 1622

Lots 23 to 88 comprise a collection of sixty-seven rare maps, published between 1570 and 1639, from a Dutch composite atlas of the period.

The maps cover all parts of the world, centred on a core of maps of the Low Countries, especially regional maps of northern Holland, including three versions of the striking Leo Belgicus or Leo Hollandicus.

Of particular significance is the sequence of rare cartes-à-figures, decorative panelled maps by Blaeu, Visscher, and Verbiest. "This genre must be considered one of the finest products of the Amsterdam map-making industry. The successful combination of advances in geographical knowledge with the expression of artistic capability made these maps a valued commodity on both the domestic and broader international markets" (Schilder).

Their aesthetic appeal of the carte-à-figure has not diminished over the centuries, and they remain highly collectable examples of the cartographer's art. That many of these maps were sold as separate sheets, and were only sporadically inserted into composite-style atlases of the period accounts for their rarity today.


Many cartes-à-figures were larger than the bindings into which they were inserted. As a consequence, frequently a careless binder would crop the borders with loss of engraved area, which has happened to some of the maps described here. These maps were removed from their atlas by the owner to better preserve them; in some cases they have had margins added and centrefolds strengthened, and where loss has occurred they have been restored. A few have been backed on fine linen.


G. Schilder, Monumenta Cartographica Neerlandica VI (Alphen aan den Rijn, 2000)

H.A.M. van der Heijden, “Atlas Iprensis”, in Caert Thresoor, 14 (1995), 25-34

Travel, Atlases, Maps & Natural History

29 APRIL 2014 | LONDON