1725 Van der Aa View of Syracuse, Sicily

Delineatio Syracusarum Antiquarum Quadriurbium. - Main View

1725 Van der Aa View of Syracuse, Sicily


A rare, incredibly detailed, and meticulously engraved view of Syracuse.


Delineatio Syracusarum Antiquarum Quadriurbium.
  1725 (undated)     14 x 17.75 in (35.56 x 45.085 cm)


This is a rare and beautifully engraved 1725 Pieter van der Aa view of Syracuse, Italy. Oriented toward the west, the view depicts the entire city in incredible detail, with individual buildings, walls, and streets illustrated throughout. Nearly 200 locations are numerically labeled, though unfortunately the index identifying these locations is not present. Numerous large estates, manor houses, and even castles occupy the territory around Syracuse, indicating a large amount of wealth located in and around the city. A large sailing ship is moored in Syracuse harbor, with two smaller vessels navigating the waters along the coast, one of which appears to be aflame. A nautically-themed decorative title cartouche is situated in the lower right corner and features a merman replenishing the sea from a shell, a sea monster, fishing nets, and a winged woman.

This view was created by Pieter Van der Aa and published in 1725. This view appears to be very rare on the market. We have been able to identify one other example in institutional collections


Pieter van der Aa (1659 - 1733) was a Dutch publisher of maps and atlases active in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Van der Aa was born in Leyden in 1659. At nine he was apprenticed to a local bookseller and, by 21, had established his own publishing, printing, and auctioneering house. In 1692 Van der Aa was appointed to be one of the High Commissioners of the Booksellers Guild. During his long and impressive career Van der Aa produced thousands of maps, including a vast 28 volume atlas containing no less than 3,000 maps. Few of Van der Aa's maps were original productions, most being copied from the work of earlier cartographers. Nonetheless, when one of Van der Aa's rare original pieces does appear, his style, with unusual projections, elegant engraving, and precise detail, is instantly recognizable and highly desirable. He also pioneered the cartographic idea of separating border artwork from the map plate itself such that every map in a collection could have a similar elaborate border without actually having to re-engrave the complex plates. This technique was used to great effect by later 18th century publishers like Brion de la Tour. Following Van der Aa's death in 1733, his much admired Nouvel Atlas was reissued by the Dutch firm of Covens & Mortier. Today Van der Aa's work is admired for its fine delicate engraving and unusual projections and is considered highly desirable among collectors. Learn More...


Very good. Light wear and toning along original centerfold. Blank on verso.


OCLC 707615074.