WIT, Frederick de (1630-1706). An Exceptionally Fine Small Atlas. - Nieut Kaert-Boeck, vande XVII Nederlandse Provincies. Amsterdam: F. de Wit, 1660-1666.

$ 70,000.00

2 works in one volume, folio (20 2/8 x 12 inches).  Engraved title-page to "Nieut Kaert-Boeck" (using that of Jacob van Campen's "Afbeelding van't Stadt Huys an Amsterdm" [1661] with de Wit' s present title on an engraved overslip, together 53 double-page engraved mapsheets, all except one hand-colored in outline the cartouches and other embellishments fully hand-colored (first few maps with repaired splits at lower fold), manuscript contents in a contemporary hand, 7 leaves of descriptive text. Contemporary speckled calf, spine gilt in compartments (binding expertly repaired at spine and joints by James Brockman).  

Provenance: Near contemporary ownership inscription and description of contents of Baron Georg Guldenstiern (1632 -1686), State councillor to Queen Christina of Sweden  (1626 - 1689) (ruled 1632-1654), chamberlain to King Charles X Gustavus of Sweden (1622 - 1660) (ruled 1654 - 1660), Chancelor of the Exchequer and of the Admiralty and governor of Stockholm 1678-1682 under King Charles XI (1655 - 1697), (ruled 1660-1697), governor of the provinces of Kronoberg and Uppland from 1657 and 1664 respectively; Christopher Henry Beaumont Pease, Lord Wardington (1924-2005), Library of Important Atlases and Geographies, Sotheby’s, 10th October 2006, lot 359.  

AN EXCEPTIONALLY FINE EXAMPLE of an early small de Wit atlas. Purchased by Baron Georg Guldenstiern, explaining the addition of the regional maps of Uppland and Götaland, which are not normally found in De Wit's small atlas. In two parts: a general world atlas and a regional atlas of the seventeen Dutch provinces. It contains a number of important maps found only in de Wit's early small atlases. The four continental maps are examples of de Wit's first continental maps that he replaced with more modern maps by 1671. The map of Hungary "NOVISSIMA ET  EMENDATA DELINEATIO HUNGARIÆ" was originally published by Joannes Meyssens,(Schilder) but with de Wit's imprint it is known of in only one other de Wit atlas held by the map collection of the Amsterdam University Library. Like the map of Hungary the map of Germania by Claes Jansz. Visscher found in this atlas is also replaced by 1671. The World map is de Wit's second, and it is in an earlier state than the one given by Shirley (451), as the page number "1" is in manuscript and is not yet engraved.  This is the only copy of this map known without the engraved page number.    

The atlas can be dated to between 1666 and 1671. Furthermore it can be dated to shortly after 1668, due to the contents of the atlas and several indicators found on the maps within the atlas. The first part of the general atlas has no title page or printed index. This indicates an early atlas as de Wit did not begin to use the familiar allegorical title page with Atlas holding up the heavens until shortly before 1671. The lack of a printed index also indicates a pre 1671 date as the printed indexes that are found in most of his atlases did not appear until ca.1671.    

The date of after 1666, for the earliest possible date for this atlas, is known as the atlas contains a map of Brabant: "Tabula Ducatus BRABANTIÆ ..." dated 1666. Further this portion of the atlas also has the second state of  de Wit's title page for his atlas of the seventeen provinces. The title page calls for twenty maps and it has a printed index of twenty maps on the verso. Both the title page and the index help in dating the atlas. De Wit acquired the plate for this title page in 1666 along with a number of plates of  Amsterdam from Dancker Danckerts (Shirley 451 and 499). De Wit subsequently had a new title text for his provincial atlas printed that he then pasted over the original Danckerts text on this title page. There are three renditions of the new title block, the first indicating only fourteen maps, the second indicating twenty and the third twenty-five maps. We know that the fourteen map provincial atlas was first advertised by de Wit on the 14th of June 1667, in the "Oprechte Haerlemse Courant". Both the fourteen and the twenty map indexes are numeric and the twenty-five map index is alphanumeric. This change was made before 1671. The provincial portion of the atlas in question has the title page advertising only twenty maps and it has the twenty map numeric index, hence it is likely to have been compiled after 1668, but not long after this date. Though the provincial portion of this atlas actually has twenty-four maps and not only the twenty as called for in the index, it still belongs to the twenty map period as they only have manuscript numbers.  

The date of before 1671 comes from the fact that the road map of central Europe “Carta Noua accurata del Paßagio et strada dalli Paesi” which is found in most de Wit atlases, is found in an early state in this atlas. This map was purchased by de Wit from Cornelius Danckerts some time before 1666. At first de Wit did not change this map other than to add his address and name to a small shield in the upper border of the map. He subsequently added a letter “Z” to the upper right of the map and added it as the twenty fifth map to the provincial atlas. He then added a large amount of information to the map and changed the title cartouche to read his name and the date 1671. The impression here is in the earlier state lacking both the letter Z and the title and date change. This is further supported by the fact that the maps in the general portion of this atlas have been numbered in manuscript and they do not carry the engraved numbers that are found on the plates after 1671.  Also as the continental maps and seven of the country maps still carry the folio page numbers that were added to the atlas in the early 1660s and then removed before 1671. The only other map that carries an engraved page number is Portugal, number “8”, but as no state of this map with de Wit’s imprint has been found without the engraved number, and de Wit may also have purchased the printing plate early in the 1660s, it is not out of place. The maps by C.J.Visscher, Hugo Allard and the Blaeu firm are not additions to this atlas. They are found in other de Wit atlases and are part of a uniform atlas format published by de Wit. All the Blaeu plates found in this atlas are purchased and corrected by de Wit by 1694.   The bindings of early atlases by de Wit are not as uniform as his post-1671 atlases, so making it difficult to say if the binding of the atlas in hand is original to it. Identification of the water marks in the fly leaves of the atlas may help in this regard.  

There are two separate manuscript page number sets, one that conforms to the collation that we find in most later small de Wit’s atlases with engraved page numbers. The second  pagination conforms to the atlas’ index and is in the same hand as the signature and manuscript index found in the front of the atlas. Schilder “Monumenta Cartgraphica Neerlandica VI” p. 227; Shirley 451 and 499 are the same plate. His date for this map comes from Koeman and is too late and it can be dated to as early as mid 1660s; “Oprechte Haerlemse Courant”, 14 Juni 1667 (Royal Library den Haag).  George Carhart.