WIT, Frederick de (1630-1706). Orbis Maritimus ofte Zee. Amsterdam: F. de Wit, 1690.
Folio (21 x 12 4/8 inches). Engraved allegorical title-page showing the globe surmounted by the figure of Atlas with printed index listing 27 subjects on verso, 27 double-page engraved charts, and 1 fold-out map, all with FINE CONTEMPORARY HAND COLOR (occasional light offsetting). 19th-century calf antique with blind floral tooled borders (re-backed, repair on front hinge).
Provenance: engraved armorial bookplate of Baron de Launoit on the front free endpaper; Christopher Henry Beaumont Pease, Lord Wardington (1924-2005), Library of Important Atlases and Geographies, Sotheby's 10th October 2006, lot 541.
A late issue of this remarkable sea atlas. A dramatic image of the mythological Atlas pressed against the ceiling of a star filled sky, perched at the top of a globe depicting Europe, Asia, and Africa (with the western edge of Australia unidentified in the lower right) opens this incredible atlas. All maps very clear with coloring still bright and vibrant, particularly the large fold-out map of Europe and North Africa. Pages turn as if they were bound yesterday with maps that lay flat, making this a wonderful presentation copy. More than a collection of detailed maps of every known corner of the Earth, this work serves as a world tour in the form of the fanciful and imaginative cartouches and map embellishments that illustrate this impressive atlas. A wonderful polar projection is enrobed in scenes of whalers killing and processing what look like giant trout, and a particularly jarring scene accompanying the map of Russia depicts a bear hunt in the wild. While most of the map details draw on the work of earlier cartographers, for this edition deWit draws on his substantial skills as a realiser of scenes from the vast Unknown to tickle the imaginations of readers safe at home. Truly the Hieronymus Bosch of Atlas illustration.
"It's an amazingly attractive sea atlas and, unlike Goos, Doncker, Robijn, Van Keulen etc., it seems to have been continuously revised and updated... I have since added a copy of the last (third) state of de Wit's chart of the Channel which shows the coastline of France and the Channel Islands re-engraved" (Lord Wardington). Koeman IV, Wit I; Phillips 485. Location note: Atlas 8F. For inquiries please contact Greg McMurray, MLS, Director, Rare Books.