Insularum Moluccarum Nova Descriptio
VALK, Gerard / SCHENK, Peter

Insularum Moluccarum Nova Descriptio

Size : 490 x 375 mm
Condition : Très bon
Technique : Copper engraving
Reference : 242-4-23

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Nice copy in period colors of a map of the St. Lazaro archipelago engraved by SCHENK and VALK, based on the representation of the "Spice Islands" made by Jansson. It represents the famous Moluccan islands: Spice Islands of the Dutch Empire in the 17th century (8 islands: Bachian, Machian, Timor, Pottebackers Eylandt, Tidoro, Miterra, Ternate, Haerij).

Sea monsters are represented on the seas as well as European and local ships indicating the importance of this area for trade.

VALK, Gerard / SCHENK, Peter

The Valcks and Schenk are one of the most respected and enduring map and globe making families in Europe. Their destiny was linked by the marriages of several of their members, the acquisition of the map and copper stocks of cartographers such as Jansson, De Wit or Visscher and the obtaining of privileges allowing them to exercise a quasi-monopoly on the production of maps and globes in the Netherlands from the end of the 17th century to the beginning of the 19th century.

Gerrit Leendertsz Valck (1652-1726), better known as Gerard Valck, was an Amsterdam publisher, engraver, art dealer and globe maker. Trained by Abraham Bloteling, whose assistant he became, the two men fled the arrival of the French in the Low Countries and settled in London around 1673 where Gerard married Abraham's sister Maria Bloteling; it was in London that his son and successor, Leonard, was born in 1675. After apprenticing as a cartographer to David Loggan and Christopher Browne, Gerard returned to Amsterdam in the late 1670s and in 1684 was granted a 15-year printing privilege by the Dutch States.

Born in Germany, Petrus Schenk (1660-1718) left for Amsterdam where he became a pupil and later a partner of Gerard Valck. On 16 November 1686, they obtained a privilege to print prints. Petrus Schenk married Gerard Valck's sister Agatha in 1687.

In 1694 they bought the stock of maps and copperplates from Jan Jansson, one of the two most famous publishers in Amsterdam and the only one still available, as the other major firm, the Blaeu's, had seen its stock disappear in a fire in 1672. Jansson's brass instruments were used for the 1708 reprinting of Cellarius' celestial atlas Harmonia macrocosmica. Petrus and Gerard were granted a 15-year privilege to publish all the maps, and in 1695 they obtained the right to publish the maps of Sanson, cartographer to the King of France, which were considered to be the most accurate of their time. Gerard Valck, who is also famous for printing monumental maps to adorn the walls of grand houses, was also trained in the extremely difficult art of globe-making by Pieter Maasz Smit.

Although they were partners, Gerard and Petrus kept their independence.

In 1700, Gerard Valk set up his business in the Amsterdam shop previously occupied by the legendary Jocodus Hondius ("op den Dam in de Wakkere Hond"). Shortly afterwards he published his own manual for making globes, 't Werkstellige der Sterrekonst, and the first pair of globes, with a diameter of 12 inches, under his own name. Valk's globes were soon a great success and were produced in a wide variety of sizes. The family soon gained a virtual monopoly on this prestigious market. In 1702 he joined the booksellers' guild and soon became its head. His son Leonard, married to Maria Schenk, joined him. 

Around 1711 Leonard became a partner, and then took control of the company on the death of his father in 1726. After Leonard's death in 1746, the production of globes continued with his widow, Maria. In the same year, the company's catalogue advertised a pair of 12-inch table globes at a price of 33 florins. This was a considerable sum, revealing the role of maps and globes as true luxury items for an intellectually sophisticated elite. This trade continued after their deaths until the company was taken over by Cornelis Covens shortly after 1800.

Petrus Schenk moved to the Vijgendam in Amsterdam in 1706, "in the Sanson Atlas". When he died in 1718, his son, Leonard Schenk, succeeded him. The second son, Petrus II, moved to another famous house, "in the Visscher Atlas", where he continued his partnership with Gerard and Leonard Valck.

The Valck and Schenk families produced more than 70 original maps, some of them monumental; they reprinted and modified hundreds of maps, including Jansson's Atlas novus, and published the maps of the French cartographer Sanson for the Netherlands. Some of these were published in the Atlas Contractus sive mapparum geographicarum Sansoniarum auctarum et correctum Nova Congeries, also called Atlas Minor. They also made a large number of globes which today adorn the finest collections.

These two families are among the most renowned in the history of cartography.