Leen Helmink Antique Maps

Antique map of Finland by Joan Blaeu

Stock number: 18746

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Joan Blaeu (biography)


Magnus Ducatus Finlandiae

First Published

Amsterdam, 1662

This Edition



43.2 x 51.8 cms




First printed map of Finland. Rare item because it appears in Atlas Maior only.

"This remarkably accurate-looking map was published by John Blaeu in 1662, and is the first printed map of the Grand Duchy of Finland, taken from the Scandinavian maps Anders Bure.

At the time of publication, Finland was a Grand Duchy of the Swedish Empire, with most of its settlements concentrated in the south and south-west, still an area with a large Swedish-speaking minority, particularly in 'Finlandia, Nylandia, Caiania' and 'Tavastia'. The south-eastern frontier region, around Lake Ladoga [Ladozhskoye Ozero in the USSR] shows two boundaries, one to the west, the other to the east, coloured with a double green and yellow line. The former represents the boundary established at the Treaty of Täysinna in 1595 by which the Grand Duchy received all of the territory to the north-west of the lake shown then as Savolax. The latter is the more recent boundary determined at the Treaty of Stolbovo which ended the Russo-Swedish War of 1610- 1617. Most of this territory was ceded back to Russia after the USSR-Finnish War of 1940.

Blaeu's title piece incorporates the arms of the provinces of the Grand Duchy: 'Caiania' [Oulu and Vaasa] 'Finlandia' [Turku and Pori], 'Finlandia Septentrionalis' [Lappi] 'Savolaxia' [Kuopio and Mikkeli], 'Tavastia' [H├ñme], 'Nylandia' [Uusimaa], and 'Carelia' [Karjala]. In the opposite corner, Blaeu gives a dedication to Gustav Horn (1592 - 1657) of Bj├Ârneborg [Pori], who was governor of the south-eastern regions of Kexholm and Ingermanland, giving a date of origin of Blaeu's map between 16651 (when Horn was made a Count) and 1657 (the year of his death). The arms of Finland were also relatively recent in origin, being first used in the 1580s."


Willem Janszoon Blaeu (1571-1638)
Joan Blaeu (son) (1596-1673)
Cornelis Blaeu (son) (?-c.1642)

Willem Janszoon Blaeu died in October 1638, leaving his prospering business to his sons, Joan and Cornelis, who continued and expanded their father's ambitious plans.

After the premature death of his brother Cornelis in 1642, Joan directed the work alone and the whole atlas series of 6 volumes was eventually completed about 1655. As soon as it was finished he began the preparation of the even larger work, the Atlas Maior, which reached publication in 1662 in 11 volumes (later editions in 9-12 volumes) and contained nearly 600 double-page maps and 3,000 pages of text. This was, and indeed remains, the most magnificent work of its kind ever produced; perhaps its geographical content was not as up-to-date or as accurate as its author could have wished, but any deficiencies in that direction were more than compensated for by the fine engraving and colouring, the elaborate cartouches and pictorial and heraldic detail and especially the splendid calligraphy.

In 1672 a disastrous fire destroyed Blaeu's printing house in the Gravenstraat and a year afterwards Joan Blaeu died. The firm's surviving stocks of plates and maps were gradually dispersed, some of the plates being bought by F. de Wit and Schenk and Valck, before final closure in about 1695.

(Moreland and Bannister)