13.5 x 18.5 cms
Map of the North Pole regions from the 1608 second edition of Jodocus Hondius' Atlas Minor, a reduction of the 1606 Mercator-Hondius folio map (which is a later state of the 1595 Mercator copperplate).
"Shortly after the publication of the big folio-atlases the need was apparantly felt for a smaller-sized atlas, one that would be handier, and, above all, cheaper, so that a larger public might have access to the use of maps.
The publication of the 'Atlas Minor' appeared to be a great success for Hondius; the first Latin edition was in great demand.
The copperplates of the first atlases minor were most almost certainly engraved by Jodocus Hondius himself.
After 1621, the copperplates of the 'Atlas Minor' were sold to a London editor. Firstly, they appeared in 'Purchas his Pilgrinies', printed in 1625 by William Stansby for Henry Featherstone. Next they were used for the translation of the Mercator-atlas, printed in small folio under the title 'Historia mundi, or Mercators atlas', by Thomas Cotes for Michael Sparke and Samuel Cartwight in 1635."
"As with the 'Theatrum' of Abraham Ortelius, Jodocus Hondius planned a reduced size version of Gerard Mercator's folio atlas. Just one year after his first edition he published his Latin text 'Atlas Minor' in collaboration with Jan Jansz. and Cormelis Claesz. The arrangement between these three is not understood clearly but Hondius is believed to have been the owner of the copperplates. Cartographically this is taken directly from the folio maps by Hondius in 1606 [..]. with the inevitable loss of detail due to the reduction. The initial 'S' in the lower right [of the America map] probably represents the unidentified engraver."
"This map of the North Pole is a reduced verion of the revised second state of Gerard Mercator's 'SEPTENTRIONALIUM Terrarum' first issued in 1606. There are, however, a couple of noticeable differences. The map itself only extends now to just south of the Arctic Circle and the inset maps at the top of the Faeroes and Frisland have now been reversed."
Jodocus Hondius the Elder, one of the most notable engravers of his time, is known for his work in association with many of the cartographers and publishers prominent at the end of the sixteenth and the beginning of the seventeenth century.
A native of Flanders, he grew up in Ghent, apprenticed as an instrument and globe maker and map engraver. In 1584, to escape the religious troubles sweeping the Low Countries at that time, he fled to London where he spent some years before finally settling in Amsterdam about 1593. In the London period he came into contact with the leading scientists and geographers of the day and engraved maps in The Mariner's Mirrour, the English edition of Waghenaer's Sea Atlas, as well as others with Pieter van den Keere, his brother-in-law. No doubt his temporary exile in London stood him in good stead, earning him an international reputation, for it could have been no accident that Speed chose Hondius to engrave the plates for the maps in The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine in the years between 1605 and 1610.
In 1604 Hondius bought the plates of Mercator's Atlas which, in spite of its excellence, had not competed successfully with the continuing demand for the Ortelius Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. To meet this competition Hondius added about 40 maps to Mercator's original number and from 1606 published enlarged editions in many languages, still under Mercator's name but with his own name as publisher. These atlases have become known as the Mercator/ Hondius series. The following year the maps were re-engraved in miniature form and issued as a pocket Atlas Minor.
After the death of Jodocus Hondius the Elder in 1612, work on the two atlases, folio and miniature, was carried on by his widow and sons, Jodocus II and Henricus, and eventually in conjunction with Jan Jansson in Amsterdam. In all, from 1606 onwards, nearly 50 editions with increasing numbers of maps with texts in the main European languages were printed.
(Moreland and Bannister)