Leen Helmink Antique Maps

Old books, maps and prints by Pieter van den Keere

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)

Pieter van den Keere maps for sale