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Charlois Fund - Acquisition

Map of the Duchy of Nivernais by Willem and Joan Blaeu

12 September 2019

This map of the “Nivernium ducatus Gallice [in Gallic] Duché de Nevers” is taken from the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum or Atlas novus by Willem and Joan Blaeu.


From the year 1635, Willem Blaeu (1571-1638), dutch cartographer and editor, published its Theatrum Orbis Terrarum made of 600 maps hand-coloured after printing, which explained its cost. It has been translated into several languages as English and French.


His son, Joan Blaeu (1596-1673), became one of the most important Dutch cartographer of the 17th century. After the death of Willem in 1638, Joan and his brother Cornelius took over the workshop and Joan became the official cartographer of the Dutch East India Company. Joan Blaeu published in 1662 one of the most remarkable atlas of the cartography history known as Atlas maior (the French version has been published in 12 volumes etched).


This coloured map dating from the first half of the 17th Century tells us that the main forest ranges (Bellary, Bertranges, Donzy, Minimes…), despite the heavy logging, have not been so much altered over the centuries. By contrast, the map does not have details on the smallest forests.

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