VISSCHER, Nicholas Janszen (1618-1679). Exactissima totius Archipelagi nec non Graeciae Tabula. Amsterdam: Frederick De Wit, [c. 1710].

$ 1,700.00

Single sheet, (21 x 24 ½ inches). EXTREMELY FINE engraved map of Greece, surrounded by a border of yellow wash, with EXTREMELY FINE ORIGINAL HAND COLOR IN FULL, HEIGHTENED IN LIQUID GOLD, the individual regions shown in different bold watercolors of yellow, green, and pink, decorated with a fine compass rose pointing north with a GOLD-ENHANCED FLEUR-DE-LIS, the title within an ELABORATE HISTORIATED CARTOUCHE (old central fold, slightly toned).

An EXTREMELY FINE engraved map of the Greek archipelago, Crete, part of Asia Minor, and the Aegean Sea. The beautiful title cartouche shows two figures, one with a halo painted with LIQUID GOLD and the other in military garb, surrounded by symbols of Greek antiquity, including a lute, armillary sphere, sheet music, and mathematical symbols. The colorist has added a marbling effect to the title panel, adding another layer of texture. The primary regions, indicated by color, are Macedonia, Thelia, Epirus, Livadia Acchaia, Peloponesus Morea, and Creta Candia [Crete]. Other islands shown are Cefalonia, Cyprus, Lesbos, Lemnos, and Chios.

The Visscher family was one of the most distinguished of all 17th-century cartographic firms, and a major player in the era now considered the golden age of Dutch mapmaking. In the late 1600’s, a period of great geographical discovery, Amsterdam became an international center of the arts and of cartography, with engravers and printers produced magnificent maps and charts of every kind. The fields of artistic production and mapmaking were arguably more seamlessly united during this era than any period before or since, as the strong competition among publishers meant that maps not only had to be scrupulously accurate, but also visually appealing. In this milieu, a number of venerable firms, including those established by Blaeu, Jansson, Hondius, as well as Visscher, competed for the ever-expanding market for maps and atlases. The firm founded by Nicholas Visscher set standards for exceptional quality that few others were able to equal, and Hendrick de Leth, who eventually rose to assume control of the Visscher publishing house in the 18th century, maintained the company’s standards for excellence during a period when Amsterdam’s cartographic preeminence was just beginning to be challenged by the French school of scientific cartography.