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Antique map of New Guinea and the Solomon Islands by Barent Langenes

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Stock number: 19153

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Barent Langenes (biography)
Pieter van den Keere (biography)
Petrus Plancius (biography)


Nova Guinea et In. Salomonis

First Published

Middelburg, 1598

This Edition

Amsterdam, 1606 Latin


8.4 x 12.4 cms


very good


This Item is Sold


One of the earliest maps dedicated to the region, preceded only by the 1593 map by de Jode. The map covers New Guinea, the Solomon Islands (Insulae Salomonis), and part of Cape York Peninsula before its actual discovery by Willem Jansz in 1606. The map is engraved by Petrus Kaerius, for the miniature atlas Caert Thresoor, a joint project by Barent Langenes in Middelburg and Cornelis Claesz in Amsterdam. that was first published in 1598. Kaerius (Pieter van den Keere) and his brother-in-law Jodocus Hondius (Joost de Hondt) engraved the maps for this atlas, they were the foremost engravers at the time.

The cartographic contents of the map is copied from Petrus Plancius' map of the Spice Islands. The toponyms and the text legend about Andrea Corsali are also copied verbatim from Petrus Plancius (Pieter Platvoet).

A scale bar is given in the lower right, in old Dutch nautical Miles (Millaria Germanica) of 15 in a degree of latitude (each old Dutch nautical mile corresponding to four modern nautical miles of which there are 60 in a degree). The graduation markings and numerals at the left border of the map run from latitude 3 degrees north to latitude 25 degrees south of the equator (which itself is labeled AEQUINOTIALIS LINEA at the top of the map).

The text legend under New Guinea transcribes and translates as follows:

Nova Guinea a nautis sic dicta, /
quod eius litora, locorumque facies Guineæ /
Africanæ multum sunt similia. Ab Andrea Cor- /
sali Florentino videtur dici Terra de Piccinacoli. /
Partem autem eße continentis Australis magnitudo /
probabile facit.

New Guinea is called such by the seafarers because its
coasts and the view of its places strongly resemble those
of African Guinea. The Florentine Andrea Corsali seems to
call it the Land of the Piccinacoli (dwarfs, old Italian dialect).
Its size makes it probable that it forms part of the
southern continent (Continentis Australis).


Nice example. Wide margins, strong and thick paper, which is unusual for maps from this atlas. Paper with attractive patina of the centuries. Copperplate imprint weak along the top border. No restorations or imperfections. Overall a very good collector's example of this first legendary map of the area.

Barent Langenes

Langenes was a publisher in Middelburg about whom little is known except that he produced the first edition of a very well known miniature atlas, the 'Caert-Thresoor'. The atlas was the work of Cornelis Claesz in Amsterdam, the foremost publisher of the day. The copperplates were engraved by brothers-in-law Jodocus Hondius and Petrus Kaerius, the most skilled engravers of the day.

The Caert-Thresoor

The Caert-Thresoor, a small atlas of the world in oblong format, appeared in 1598; thereby, its publishers wrote a new page in the history of atlas cartography. The preparations for this prototype of the new generation of Dutch pocket atlases began around 1595. At that time, Cornelis Claesz commissioned the skilled engravers Jodocus Hondius and Pieter van den Keere to engrave the maps. An unnamed young writer and poet - in Burger's opinion, it was Cornelis Taemsz of Hoorn - was called upon to write the accompanying text. Claesz wanted his Caert-Thresoor to outshine the similar small world atlases that had been produced thus far in Antwerp. In this way, he set out to spark interest in and knowledge of geography among the public at large in the Northern Netherlands. In view of the various reprints, editions, and adaptations of this work in Dutch, French, and Latin, obviously the Amsterdam publisher was quite successful in that endeavor.

Even prior to the publication of the little atlas, Cornelis Claesz used the maps that had been prepared in a number of his books, where they served as title vignettes and illustrations in the text. The earliest of these books dates from 1596. Ultimately, the Caert-Thresoor contained 169 maps, engraved in the superb and clear style of the brothers-in-law Hondius and Van den Keere. The text accompanying the maps runs over two volumes, comprising 462 respectively 196 numbered pages. The earliest known edition of the Caert-Thresoor bears the imprint of a printer from Middelburg, Barent Langenes, and indicates that the work was also available from Cornelis Claesz. However, Langenes should only be considered a co-publisher. Even though the dedication to the States of Zeeland bears his signature, he had apparently played only a temporary and minor part in the production process. The publication of the Caert-Thresoor required large, long term investment on the part of Cornelis Claesz, making the financial support and help of others very welcome. Indeed, the preface contains an ode in praise of the Caert-Thresoor and its publisher Cornelis Claesz, along with a note that he had been the driving force behind the project as well as its initiator. From the subsequent edition (1599) onward, only the Amsterdam imprint is given: Tot Amsterdam, By Cornelis Claes. opt water, int Schrijfboeck.

The pocket atlases that were produced in Antwerp remained to a large extent simplified smaller-scale versions of Ortelius's Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. Meanwhile, the Caert-Thresoor broke away from this folio atlas and conformed less strictly to the structure and layout of that atlas. Production of the Caert-Thresoor moved in a new direction by including much new material that had been collected in the 1590s in Amsterdam. This material was based partly on Portuguese information and knowledge, partly on that derived from Dutch voyages for trade or discovery. The revisions showed up mainly in the second book, which should be seen as a kind of up-to-date supplement. This part covers the non-European countries. Here one finds, among other things, detailed maps of the Philippines and the archipelago of the East Indies. The maps were taken directly from the map that Jan Huygen van Linschoten made in 1595. Only the map of Java was taken from Plancius's map of the Moluccas. The detailed maps of places in the Indian Ocean derive mainly from Van Linschoten's map of the northern Indian Ocean. The model for the bird's-eye view of Moçambique Island was the engraving in Van Linschoten's Itinerario (1596). Furthermore, the print showing the shipwreck of the Portuguese vessel the S. Jacobus on the shallows known as the Baixos de Iudia in the Strait of Moçambique was copied from Plancius's map of Southern Africa. Plancius's maps also served as models for other maps in the Caert-Thresoor. For example, the Canary Islands, the detailed map of Tercera, and the Cape Verde Islands were copied from them. The small map of Newfoundland is a section of Plancius's map of the North Atlantic Ocean. And the little map of the Strait of Magellan is an unaltered section of Van Linschoten's map of South America.

These are merely a few examples of the sources that were used. The fact that the publishers did not hesitate to use Plancius's and Van Linschoten's maps - in fact, they copied a great deal 'literally' without citing the authors' names - supports the assumption that the atlas was produced by someone very close to these sources. Did not Cornelis Claesz act as publisher for both Plancius and Van Linschoten after all? The last map that appears in the Caert-Thresoor shows the results of Jan Huygen van Linschoten's second voyage in search of a Northeast Passage. The map depicts the seven ships that sailed from Holland and had been in the Kara Sea in 1595. The accompanying text gives a brief report of the two first arctic voyages. In few words, the author reports that the third voyage had not yet been completed, the ship De Rijp had returned but the ship under the command of Willem Barentsz had not yet done so. This small map and the accompanying text were apparently added as the very latest news after the atlas was already complete. However, its value as a source of current information was apparently undermined by the long duration of the printing process for the Caert-Thresoor. Strangely enough, the atlas does not go any deeper into the results and adventures of the third voyage. This is striking, since the members of Barentsz's crew who survived had returned to Amsterdam in the autumn of 1597, while Langenes's dedication was not written till 20 May 1598.

The Caert-Thresoor enjoyed widespread interest, and commercially it did not do Cornelis Claesz any harm. Under his direction, editions appeared in Dutch (1598, 1599, and 1609), French (c.1600 and 1602), and Latin (1600, 1602/03, and 1606). But even after he died, the work still went through a number of editions at different publishing houses. From the Dutch edition of 1599 onward – influenced by the criticism of Paullus Merula - most of the maps were provided a latitude scale. In 1600, a French and a Latin edition appeared. Cornelis Claesz called upon Aelbert Hendricksz in The Hague to print the French edition on the basis of a translation by I. de la Haye, who was a rector and clergyman in Kampen. But for the Latin edition, the production again took place in Amsterdam, though this time in collaboration with a publisher in Arnhem, Jan Jansz. For that edition, the scholar Petrus Bertius (1565-1629) made a completely new geographical description of the whole world. Moreover, the maps then served as illustrations, unlike previous editions in which the text was meant to explain the maps. In 1609, the Caert-Thresoor appeared in a new Dutch version, prepared by the author and poet Jacobus Viverius (1571/72-c.1636). The starting point was the original base text taken from the earlier Dutch editions of 1598 and 1599, which were then partly revised in light of Petrus Montanus's text in Mercator's Atlas Minor (1607).



The Caert-Thresoor of 1598 set a new standard for minor atlases. Scholars like Petrus Bertius and Jacobus Viverius edited the text. The small maps are extremely well engraved; they are neat and clear and elegantly composed. They served many purposes in other books published in Amsterdam. Their contents reflect the level of cartography in Amsterdam at the turn of the century, where up-to-date information on newly discovered regions was readily available. The Caert-Thresoor is a collection of maps to which the text was adapted and not the other way around as is the case with many geographical studies.

Its success must have prompted Jodocus Hondius to publish a reduced edition of Mercator's Atlas in 1607.

The first edition was published in 1598 by Barent Langenes, bookseller and publisher located in De Vier Winden in Middelburg (1597-1605). Little is known about Langenes, except that he published some travel descriptions. As is stated on the title page, the edition was also sold by Cornelis Claesz, in Amsterdam. All later editions were published by Claesz. and his successors.

However, in the "Ode", a laudatory poem in 11 strophes, only “Claessoon” is credited for the work. Moreover, in 1605 Paullus Merula wrote in his Cosmographia that Cornelis Claesz. had asked him eight years before to make a Latin translation of the Caert-Thresoor, which Claesz, had published in the Dutch language.

Merula complained that the maps were not only too small but that they also lacked indications of longitude and latitude (in the first 1598 edition issued by Langenes). Merula considered this kind of work useless. Translating the work of novices (“foetus novorum hominum”) into Latin was just a job and added nothing to his scholarly work. Claesz. persisted and asked Merula if he would write a complete new text after the co-ordinates were added to the maps. Merula conceded and would write a completely new text to the maps. Despite this agreement, Merula continued, Bertius had already translated and enlarged the text, which was quite satisfying for him.

Only nine copies of the 1598 first edition by Langenes are known.

(van der Krogt)

Pieter van den Keere (1571-after 1646)

Pieter van den Keere (Petrus Kaerius) (1571-after 1646) was born in Gent and fled to England with his family in 1584. During the years spent in London, he developed relations with other refugees. Pieter's sister, Colette van den Keere, married Jodocus Hondius in 1587. In 1585, the latter's sister, Jacomina Hondius, had married Petrus Montanus (Pieter van den Berghe), who later wrote the text for Van den Keere's Germania Inferior. Van den Keere's competitor, Abraham Goos (1616: Nieuw Nederlandtsch Caertboeck) was his cousin. And his brother-in-law, Petrus Bertius, contributed to the enterprises of Jodocus Hondius by writing the text for the Tabularum Geographicarum. Clearly, they formed a virtual family trust of map producers in Amsterdam.

In 1593 Van den Keere settled on the Rokin in Amsterdam. There, he worked as an engraver for many publications by Cornelis Claesz., such as the maps for the Nieuwe Beschryvinghe ende Caertboeck van de Midlantsche Zee by Willem Barentsz. (1595), CaertThresoor (1598), and an atlas of the British Isles (c. 1599).

The period 1600-1621 must have been a rather prolific time, in view of the numerous copperplates listed in the inventory of 1623. The tide seems to have turned in 1621 or 1622, when his wife died. He made his will in 1622. Then in 1623, he married Anneken Winninghs, a teacher's daughter and widow, and announced that he intended to sell his plates. It seems as if he had fallen on hard times; his atlas of the Netherlands had not yielded as much profit as he expected. There was no follow-up to the second Latin edition of 1622 and the French edition of 1621-1622. His friend and collaborator, Petrus Montanus, was ill; the fact that there were so many outstanding competitors in the engraving profession made it difficult to find well-paid work. He tried to increase his income by publishing newsletters between 1618-1620 (the first newspapers in the Netherlands) but then stopped for reasons unknown. From 1623 on, he seems to have been entrusted with only 'small' jobs such as maps for the Atlas Minor by Johannes Janssonius, 1628, for the Atlas by Jan Evertsz. Cloppenburch, 1630, and folio atlas maps for Johannes Janssonius in the years between 1633 and c.1645. Several of them are found in the atlas of the Ancient World of 1652. The map Zeelandia Comitatus' in Janssonius Atlas Minor bears the statement 'Petrus Kærius Flander Cælavit Ætatis suæ 75' — a very noteworthy achievement in the eye-straining engraving profession. The date of his death could not be found in the records in Amsterdam.

His Germania Inferior is the first original atlas of the Netherlands published in folio size. The text for the atlas, both in Dutch and in French, was written by Petrus Montanus. After 1623, the plates were sold, probably to Claes Jansz. Visscher, who substituted his name for that of Van den Keere. In 1634, Visscher included many of these maps in his Germania Inferior.

(van der Krogt)

Petrus Plancius (1552-1622)

Born as Peter Platevoet in Flanders, Petrus Plancius studied abroad and became a theologian and a mapmaker.

He produced some globes and maps, including a well-known world map in 1592. He had a great influence on the Dutch Asian expeditions.

Early Years

Peter Platevoet was born in 1552 in the Flanders village of Dranouter. Little is known about his childhood, but it seems that his parents became Protestants. Platevoet studied theology, history, and languages in Germany and England. In England he probably learned about mathematics, astronomy, and geography. When he was older, Platevoet Latinized his name, as was the custom among savants at that time.

In 1576 he became a preacher in West-Flanders, a province in Belgium, and later that year he went to Mechelen, Brussels, and Louvain. In the 1580s he stayed in Brussels for a long time, but when the city surrendered to the duke of Parma, King Philip II of Spain’s governor-general in the Netherlands, in 1585 Petrus Plancius fled to the north. He lived in Amsterdam and became a pastor of the Dutch Reformed Church. From December 1585 until his death on 15 May 1622, he fulfilled his job as preacher. Plancius was a fervent Contra-Remonstrant and discussed many theological issues.

In addition to his thorough knowledge of the Holy Bible, he was well-grounded in the study of cosmography, geography, and cartography. He was not only one of the most talked-about preachers in the Dutch republic, but also one of the important mapmakers of his time.

Early Publications

Petrus Plancius was the first caert-snyder (map cutter) in the Dutch republic to produce waxed grid maps. Therefore, on 12 September 1594 he received a patent for the publication and distribution of the world map for twelve years from the States-General. He was, together with the Flemish engraver and map-maker Jodocus Hondius and the brothers Van Langren, one of the first makers of celestial globes in the Netherlands. His first globe was produced in 1589, a revision of an earlier celestial globe. Among his revisions were four additions to the southern sky: the two Magellanic Clouds (they were unnamed on the globe) and two new constellations, Crux and Triangulus Antarticus. Their positions were taken from reports of explorers.

In 1590 Petrus Plancius made five terrestrial maps for a Dutch edition of the Holy Bible. Two years later he made a well-known world map: Nova et exacta terrarum orbis tabula geographica ac hydrographica (New and exact geographical and hydrographical map of the world). This map contained celestial planispheres in the upper corners on which he added two additional constellations.

Asian Expeditions

Petrus Plancius was one of the driving forces behind the first Dutch expeditions to Asia, assisting with preparations and providing instruction. To avoid encounters with Spain and Portugal, which were already sailing to the East Indies around southern Africa, Plancius decided to try a northeast route around Asia. He supplied maps for the voyage and advised the fleet commander, Willem Barents, in celestial navigation. The northeast voyages of 1594 and 1595 were failures, but a third attempt was made in 1596. It was on that last expedition that Barents’s ship got stuck in the polar ice, and the crew had to spend the winter in Nova Zembla, an island northwest above Russia, in what came to be called the Barents Sea. Late in the spring of the next year, the crew was able to sail south in two small boats. Barents died on the return voyage; the survivors arrived at Amsterdam in November 1597, not having found a northeast passageway.

In 1595, together with Barents, Plancius published a book titled Nieuwe Beschrijvinghe ende Caertboeck van de Middelandtsche Zee (New description and map book of the Mediterranean Sea). In this work he designed a map that was engraved by the well-known globe- and map-maker Hondius.

Because the northeast sea route around Asia did not seem very promising, even before the third voyage a group of Dutch merchants had financed a southern expedition. Plancius again helped with the planning and used the opportunity to conduct scientific research. A theory in the late sixteenth century claimed that a compass needle’s variation from north (its declination) would enable one to determine longitude. Plancius developed his own theory to ascertain longitude at sea by means of magnetic variation. To test that theory during the southern voyage, Plancius taught junior merchant Frederik de Houtman how to measure and record compass declinations. It is known that the method developed by Plancius was used from 1596 onward by mariners.

Plancius also used the voyage to discover southern stars that were not visible from Europe. He taught navigators, especially Pieter Dircksz Keyser, but also other sailors, how to measure star positions with an astrolabe and instructed them to chart the southern sky. From ship records of 1596 it is known that the astrolabe was used to measure the declination of the southern stars.

The Dutch southern expedition, known as the Eerste Shipvaart, or First Voyage, set sail from the port of Texel in April 1595. It reached the East Indies in 1596 and returned to Texel in August 1597. Plancius asked Keyser, the chief pilot on the Hollandia, to make observations to fill in the blank area around the south celestial pole on European maps of the southern sky. Keyser died in Java the following year, but his catalog included 135 new stars arranged in twelve new constellations. Most of them were invented to honor discoveries by sixteenth-century explorers. They were first published on a 1598 celestial globe made by Hondius.

After the foundation of the VOC (Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie, or East India Company) in 1602, Plancius became its first mapmaker. During the first quarter of the seventeenth century, he seemed more interested in preaching than in cartography and cosmography. But still, some of his maps were published during that time. In 1607 he produced a large revised world map. In 1612 he created a celestial globe, and later he designed an Earth and another celestial globe (1614 and 1615), both brought out by the well-known publisher Petrus Kaerius. His contemporaries described him as one of the greatest geographers of his time.


A complete bibliography of Plancius’s work, with descriptions of much of his maps and publications, is Günter Schilder, Monumenta Cartographica Neerlandica, Vol. VII, Cornelis Claesz (c. 1551–1609): Stimulator and Driving Force of Dutch Cartography, Alphen aan den Rijn, Netherlands: Canaletto/Repro-Holland, 2003.