Nicolas Visscher

Nicolaes Visscher I (1618 – 1679) was a prominent Dutch engraver, cartographer, and publisher who was born and worked in the Dutch capital of Amsterdam. He was the son of Claes Janszoon Visscher (1587 – 1652), who established the family’s publishing firm and cemented the family as some of the most prominent Dutch mapmakers for nearly a century. The firm initially lay near the offices of two other great Dutch mapmakers in Amsterdam, namely Pieter van den Keer and Jacodus Hondius, and most historians believe that Visscher senior probably had been apprenticed with Hondius. 

Upon his father’s death, the firm was passed on to Nicholas Visscher, who in 1677 received Dutch royal privilege to issue maps. Nicholas Visscher’s son, Nicolaes Visscher II (1649–1702), trained with his father and took over the family business upon his death in 1679. When Visscher II died in 1702, his widow continued the firm until the plates were sold to Peter Schenk in the 1720s. The Visscher family stands as one of the most important in the history of Dutch cartography. In addition to the respective members’ names, many of their maps also bear the imprint Piscator, the Latinised version of the family name (Visscher means fisherman in Dutch). Sometimes, the maps even feature the image of an elderly fisherman.

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