1631 Blaeu Map of the British Isles (England, Scotland, Ireland)

Magnae Britanniae et Hiberniae Tabula.

1631 Blaeu Map of the British Isles (England, Scotland, Ireland)


Important early 17th century map of the British Isles.

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Magnae Britanniae et Hiberniae Tabula.
  1631 (undated)    15.5 x 20 in (39.37 x 50.8 cm)


This is Guillaume Blaeu's 1631 map of the British Isles. Covers all of England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland with adjacent parts of France and Holland and an inset of the Orkney Islands. Cartographically this map is based upon the plates of Jodocus Hondius, which Blaeu acquired in 1629. The original plate drawn by Hondius in 1617, had decorative border images surrounding the map, but Blaeu was forced to reformat the map, sans images, for issue in his seminal Atlas Major. This map would become Blaeu's standard representation of the British Isles and was published in most subsequent Blaeu atlases issued between 1634 and 1672. A sharp crisp impression suggests an early strike.


The Blaeu Family (fl. 1596 - 1672). The Amsterdam based Blaeu clan represents the single most important family in the history of cartography. The firm was founded in 1596 by Willem Janzoon Blaeu (1571-1638). It was in this initial period, from 1596 to 1672, under the leadership of the Willem Blaeu and with this assistance of his two talented sons Cornelius (1616-1648) and Johannis (1596-1673), that the firm was most active. Their greatest cartographic achievement was the publication of the magnificent multi-volume Atlas Major. To this day, the Atlas Major represents one of the finest moments in cartography. The vast scope, staggering attention to detail, historical importance, and unparalleled beauty of this great work redefined the field of cartography in ways that have endured well into to the modern era. The cartographic works of the Blaeu firm are the crowning glory of the Dutch Golden Age of Cartography. The firm shut down in 1672 when their offices were destroyed during the Great Amsterdam Fire. The fire also destroyed nearly all of Blaeu's original printing plates and records, an incomparable loss to the history of cartography.


Blaeu, G., Atlas Major, 1634 - 1672. Also issued independently and in all of Blaue's atlases of the British Isles from 1645 on.    


Very good. Original centerfold. Minor ink spot top center, at border. Blank no verso. Original platemark visible.


Van der Krogt, Peter, Koeman's Atlantes Neerlandici, 5000:2.2. Shirley, R. W., Early Printed Maps of the British Isles 1477-1650, #423. Moreland, C. and Bannister, D., Antique Maps, a Collector's Handbook, p. 217.