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1721 Covens and Mortier Map of the Southeastern Coast of Brazil

Praefectuae Paranambuae pars Meridionalis. - Main View

1721 Covens and Mortier Map of the Southeastern Coast of Brazil


Important and scarce map of Brazil, considered one of the finest maps of Brazil ever produced.


Praefectuae Paranambuae pars Meridionalis.
  1721 (undated)     17.5 x 18.5 in (44.45 x 46.99 cm)     1 : 440000


This is a scarce c.1721 Covens and Mortier edition of a map of the southeastern coast of Brazil. Oriented with north to the right, it covers the interior from around the Sao Paulo region south along the coast of Brazil from Rio Gujaraigacu to Rio de San Francisco. Earlier maps of the region were drawn from information based on Portuguese research. Unlike its predecessors, this important map is the first to focus on Dutch rather than Portuguese interests. The map is superbly detailed, with topography beautifully rendered. In the Atlantic we can see several sailing ships, a sea monster, and a boat. A decorative title cartouche appears in the top right quadrant. Below the title appears an illustration based on the design by Frans Post, featuring a fishing scene with a lookout tower with people below pulling in a net.
Publication History
This map is based on the original map by Georg Marcgraf, cartographer to Count Johan Maurits who was the Governor General of Brazil for the Dutch West India Company from 1637 to 1644. Maurits' account on the climate, religion, language, inhabitants, flora and fauna of coastal Brazil was issued in Casper Barlaeus’ Rerum per octennium in Brasilia, first published by Bleau in 1647. Bleau later included this map in his Atlas Maior in 1662. This is the Covens and Mortier edition of the Bleau map. We note a single example cataloged in OCLC and it is part o the collection at Harvard University.


Covens and Mortier (1721 - c. 1862) was an Amsterdam publishing firm, the successor to the extensive publishing empire built by Pierre Mortier (1661 - 1711). Covens and Mortier maps are often criticized as derivative - but this is not fully the case. Pierre Mortier lived in Paris from 1681 to 1685. There he established close relationships the the greatest French cartographers of the era, including De L'Isle and D'Anville. His business model was based upon leveraging Dutch printing technology and sophistication to co-publish state of the art French cartography. 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 1721 and, partnering with his brother in law, established the Covens and Mortier firm. Under the Covens and Mortier imprint, Cornelius and Johannes continued in Pierre's model of publishing the most up-to-date French works with permission. 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). More by this mapmaker...


Very good. Minor wear along original centerfold. Minor spotting. Original platemark visible.


OCLC 605286671.