VEER, Gerrit de (ca 1573-after 1598). Diarum nauticum seu vera descriptio Trium Navigationum admirandarum... ad Septemtrionem, supra Norvagiam, Moscoviam & Tartariam, versus Catthay & Sinarum regna: tum ut detecta fuerint VVeygatz fretum, Nova Zembla, & Regio sub 80. gradu sita, quam...Amsterdam: Cornelius Claesz, 1598.
Folio (12 4/8 x 9 inches). Title-page with large etched vignette, 31 etched illustrations in the text: 30 half-page, including 26 showing scenes of Arctic exploration and 5 maps of the Arctic region including one a full-page map of Novaya Zemlya signed by the engraver, Baptista a Doetechum, 1598 (a few leaves with some minor mostly marginal pale staining, some minor creasing). Late eighteenth- or early nineteenth-century tree calf with the arms of Stuart of Rothesay stamped in gilt in the centre of each cover; modern cloth folding case.
Provenance: Supra Libras of Sir Charles Stuart, Baron Stuart de Rothesay (1779-1845), G.C.B. and privy councillor, minister at the Hague (1815-16), ambassador to Paris, and St. Petersburg, 1841-1845; from the celebrated library of SIR THOMAS PHILLIPPS, with his shelfmark and inscribed "MHC" in pencil on front free endpaper; Philip Robinson (his sale, part I, Sotheby's London, 23 June 1988, lot 284); Frank Sherwin Streeter (1918-2006) (Collection of Important Navigation, Pacific Voyages, Cartography and Science).
First edition in Latin, first published in the same year in Dutch, with this Latin and the French editions following. Towards the end of the 16th-century the competition to find a new trading route via a northern passage that would connect the Pacific and Atlantic oceans intensified. The English, Dutch, Danes and Norwegians all tried and failed. However the most notable of these in terms of discovering new coasts and islands was led by the Dutch navigator Willem Barentz (ca 1550-1597). In three major voyages, described by de Veer (the ship's carpenter) in the form of an illustrated diary, that explored the Arctic regions Barentz discovered Spitzbergen and Bear Island, and rounded the northernmost cape of Novaya Zemla. At Novaya Zemla his ship became trapped, was ultimately crushed by ice, and the crew were forced to winter on the ice, surviving on seal and polar bear meat. Many, including Barentsz died, and the illustrations depict the crew's many hardships, including the construction of the camp on the ice out of driftwood, numerous encounters with polar bears, and many other scenes of the three expeditions. In the spring of 1597 the surviving members (including De Veer) managed to reach the Kola Peninsula where they found rescue in the form of three Dutch ships.
From the distinguished libraries of Baron Stuart de Rothesay, Sir Thomas Phillips, Philip Robinson, and Frank S. Streeter. Adams V-316; Alden & Landis 598/113; JCB (3) I:369; Tiele 1130 (Memoire bibliographique sur les journaux des navigateurs nierlandais [Bibliographical Memoir on the Journals of Dutch Navigators], Amsterdam: Muller, 1867; reprinted, Amsterdam: Nico Israel, 1960). Catalogued by Kate Hunter