Pars Meridionalis Brabantiae continens Dominium Merchliniense Ducatum Arschotanum.
1721 (undated) 19 x 23 in (48.26 x 58.42 cm)
1 : 170000
This is an attractive c.1721 map of the southern part of the Duchy of Brabant by Frederik De Wit. The map depicts part of modern day Belgium, which was at the time this map was made, part of the Duchy of Brabant. It covers the vicinity of Brussels and extends from Lier south to Namur and from Ninove east as far as Sint-Truiden. The entire region is depicted in extraordinary detailed, offering both topographical and political information, with forests and mountains beautifully rendered in profile.
The Duchy of Brabant, established in the late 12th century by the Holy Roman Empire was an important region of the Low Counties and was part of the Habsburg Netherlands, until the 1648 Peace of Westphalia, which ended the Thirty Years' War and the Eighty Years' War. Brabant would be divided with the its northern portion becoming part of the United Provinces and the southern portion remaining part of Spanish Netherlands, and later the Austrian Netherlands. It would eventually be dissolved in 1795, when Napoleonic forces invaded and set up a new French client state, the Batavian Republic.
A beautifully engraved title cartouche adorns the lower right quadrant. The map was printed shortly following the 1721 Covens and Mortier acquisition of De Wit's plates from Maria De Wit.
Frederik de Wit (1629 - 1706) was a Dutch Golden Age cartographer active in the second half of the 17th and the early 18th centuries. De Wit was born of middle class Protestant stock in the western Netherlandish town of Gouda. He relocated to Amsterdam sometime before 1648, where he worked under Willem Blaeu. His first attributed engraved map, a plan of Haarlem for Antonius Sanderus' Flandria Illustrata, was issued around this time. He struck out on his own in 1654. The first chart that De Wit personally both drew and engraved was most likely his 1659 map of Denmark, REGNI DANIÆ Accuratissima delineatio Perfeckte Kaerte van ‘t CONJNCKRYCK DENEMARCKEN. His great wall map of the world and most famous work, Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis Tabula appeared one year later. Following the publication of his wall map De Wit quickly rose in prominence as a both cartographer and engraver. He married Maria van der Way in 1661 and through her became a citizen of Amsterdam in 1662. Around this time he also published his first major atlas, a composite production ranging in size from 17 to over 150 maps and charts. Other atlases and individual maps followed. In 1689 De Wit was granted at 15 year Privilege by the Dutch States General. The Privilege was a kind of early copyright that protected his exclusive rights to print and publish his maps. He was recognized with the honorific 'Good Citizen' in 1694. De Wit died in 1706 after which his wife Maria continued publishing his maps until about 1710. Though De Wit did have a son, Franciscus, he had no interest in the map trade, being a prosperous stockfish merchant. Instead, on her own retirement, Maria sold most De Wit maps and plates at a public auction. Most were acquired by Pieter Mortier and laid the groundwork for the 1721 rise of Covens and Mortier, the largest Dutch cartographic publishing house of the 18th century.
Covens and Mortier (1721 - c. 1862). The Amsterdam publishing firm of Covens and Mortier was the successor to the extensive publishing empire built by Frenchman Pierre Mortier (1661 - 1711). Upon Mortier's death in 1711 his firm was taken over by his son, Cornelius Mortier (1699 - 1783). Cornelius married the sister of Johannes Covens (1697 - 1774) in 1821 and, partnering with his brother in law, established the Covens and Mortier firm. Under the Covens and Mortier imprint, Cornelius and Pierre republished the works of the great 17th and early 18th century Dutch and French cartographers De L'Isle, Allard, Jansson, De Wit, and Ottens among others. They quickly became one of the largest and most prolific Dutch publishing concerns of the 18th century. The firm and its successors published thousands of maps over a 120 year period from 1721 to the mid-1800s. During their long lifespan the Covens and Mortier firm published as Covens and Mortier (1721-1778), J. Covens and Son (1778 - 94) and Mortier, Covens and Son (1794 - c. 1862).
Very good. Overall age toning. Minor wear along original centerfold. Minor spotting.