Regno di Napoli


Cartographer(s): Willem Blaeu
Date: ca. 1640
Place: Amsterdam
Dimensions: 38.5 x 49.5 cm (15.2 x 19.5 in)
Condition Rating: VG+

In stock

SKU: NL-00335 Category:

Handsome 1640 map of southern Italy with decorative coats-of-arms


Lovely example of Willem Blaeu’s map of the Kingdom of Napoli, lavishly decorated with a figurative cartouche, a royal coat-of-arms in the upper right, and arms of the twelve provinces of the Kingdom along the sides.

W. Blaeu, a student of astronomer Tycho Brahe, founded a workshop for the construction of globes in 1599. Almost immediately he began to also publish maps, leading in 1630 to the creation of the Atlantis Appendix and, five years later, the first edition in two volumes of the Atlas Novus. After his death in 1662, his son Johan published the famous Atlas Maior in 11 volumes. In 1672 a fire destroyed the workshop and ended the business.

Verso text: Latin.


Willem Blaeu

Willem Janszoon Blaeu (1571-1638) was a one of the most important Dutch geographers and mapmakers of the 17th century. He was born the son of a herring merchant, but traded fish-mongering for studies in mathematics and astronomy. Blaeu’s first important breakthrough was winning apprenticeship with the famous Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe. Working at Brahe’s Uranienborg observatory on the island of Hven, Blaeu learned a wide range of disciplines and technical skills. These included mathematics and astronomy, but also instrument-making and more esoteric disciplines such as alchemy. Returning to his native Holland, Blaeu set up a publishing business in Amsterdam from which he sold instruments and globes, printed maps, and his own editions of some of the great philosophical works of contemporary intellectuals like Descartes and Hugo Grotius. Achieving notoriety as a cartographic pioneer, Blaeu was appointed Chief Hydrographer to the powerful Dutch East India Company; a position he held until his death in 1638.

When Willem died, his two sons Cornelis (1610-1648) and Joan (1596-1673) took over the business. Joan had originally trained as a lawyer, but never took up practice, preferring to work on maps with his father. After Willem’s death, Joan continued to publish both his father’s and his own maps. He also assumed his father’s position as hydrographer for the Dutch East India Company. Towards the end of his life, Joan would dramatically expand his father’s Atlas Novus (1635), turning it into his own masterpiece, the Atlas Maior (1662-72).

Condition Description

Splendid example with ample margins.