Lot 93
  • 93

Blaeu, Joan

200,000 - 250,000 GBP
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  • Archipelagus Orientalis sive Asiaticus. Amsterdam: Joan Blaeu, [1659]
  • Paper on linen with wooden rollers
Large wall map of Southeast Asia and Australia in 6 engraved map-sheets, 3 panels of letterpress descriptive text in Latin, Dutch and French with imprint of Blaeu in the 3 languages, inset maps of Borin and the Solomon islands, contemporary hand colour, backed on original linen, original decorated rollers, total dimensions 158.7 x 117.4cm., some damage with loss to engraved area and text


Private residence, central Italy, since at least the late nineteenth-century, when first recorded


Schilder, Australia Unveiled, map 80

Recorded examples: Berlin Deutsche Staatsbibliothek, Atlas des Grossen Kurfürsten (Atlas of the Great Elector), XXVII; London British Library, Klencke Atlas, with the text by Jodocus Hondius III; Rostock Universitätsbibliothek, Rostock-Atlas, with the text by Jodocus Hondius III


Condition is described in the main body of the catalogue, where appropriate.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

"Possibly the best general map of Dutch sea power executed in the 17th century. It contains all Dutch discoveries in Australia and those in Tasmania and New Zealand of Tasman's first voyage" (Schilder).

In his capacity as Cartographer to the Dutch East India Company, Blaeu had access to the company's records of the ongoing exploration of the coasts of Australia. These included the earliest recorded European landfall, by the Dutch ship Duyfken in 1606, up to the more extensive exploration conducted by Abel Janszoon Tasman in 1642-1643 and 1644.

In the text Blaeu noted "Papas landt or Nova Guinea, Nova Hollandia, discovered in the year 1644, Nova Zeelandia or New Zealand reached in 1642, Antoni van Diemens land found in the same year, Carpentaria, thus named after General Carpentier, and still other lands, partly discovered are shown in this map. But of all these and of the above-mentioned islands we cannot speak more fully because of the want of space; nor has there yet been published anything, or little concerning these last named; wherefor the reader and spectator must rest content with this map, until I. [Joan] Blaeu, shall publish these and the aforesaid a large book, full of maps and descriptions, which is at present being prepared." (Schilder’s translation)

The volume was never published; thus, THIS WALL-MAP OF AUSTRALIA, WITH THE OUTLYING ISLANDS OF THE EAST INDIES REMAINS BLAEU’S MOST IMPORTANT DEPICTION OF THE REGION - a landmark in the European cartography of Australia. For the first time Australia is named “Nova Hollandia”. "Nova Zeelandia" and the discoveries of Tasman are first shown, notably with the hint of van Diemen's land, and the note "Nova Hollandia oft Niew Hollant in ‘t jaar 1644 ontdeckt, Nova Zeelandia oft Niew Zeelandt in ‘t jaar 1642 beseylt".

The map is extremely rare and complete with the three side panels of descriptive text. The inclusion of Blaeu’s imprint is of particular significance; the map is possibly one of two known surviving copies in this state.

We have been unable to locate another example of this state of the map appearing at auction or in dealers' catalogues. A later printing was auctioned in Sweden, and subsequently acquired by the National Library of Australia; this appears to have been the only example to appear in trade, until the discovery of this first printing.

The example of the wall-map in the Klencke Atlas has the text with the imprint of Jodocus Hondius III (b. 1622), grandson of Jodocus Sr., a little-known printer, active in Amsterdam in the 1650s, so assembled for sale in a rival workshop, and presumably slightly later.