HONDIUS, Jodocus II / BLAEU, Willem

Nova Virginiae Tabula

Size : 46 x 60 cm
Color : Hand Colored
Condition : A+
Technique : Copper engraving
Reference : 702-04

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First Dutch map depicting the state of Virginia.

This map depicts Native American villages all over and stretches from the Powhatan lands, Chesapeake Bay region in the west and all the way east to the Sasquesaha, whose people spoke Iroquoian and Powhatan. Very richly embellished, it includes a decorative title cartouche where an Indian man in traditional clothing is illustrated right under it, Royal arms are included but lack the motto, and a third cartouche is introduced containing an explanatory note. An inset in the top left corner includes an illustration of the King Powhatan, who was the highest authority power in Virginia when English settlers built  Jamestown fort in 1607.

It was the first and most important derivative of John's Smith map of Virginia first published in 1612. [1] But it was slightly larger than its parent map and much more attractively engraved. It continued and detailed the coastlines that were left rather vague in Smith's map. Between 1608 and 1612 the material for the Smith's map was collected and prepared, the latter recorded the discoveries of the English at the beginning of the 17th century. During this period, the colony Jamestown was established and Smith accompanied English settlers from the London company sent to Virginia. Smith encountered local Native Indian tribes and discovered the region's rivers. However, it is suggested that the map attributed to Smith was not of his work alone, as Ford discusses in his article. He questions whether this was Smith's own production or if it was based on the accounts of Nathaniel Powell. [2]

This map was later engraved by Jodocus Hondius Jr., son of Jodocus the eldest, and published separately in 1618. This recorded the first Dutch map of Virginia, it was published in its second state in 1630 baring the imprint "Ex officina Guiljelmi Blaeuw" after Hondius' widow sold the plates to their competitor Willem Jansz. Blaeu in 1629. This state was subsequently published for the next 42 years leading to its spread across Europe. The present example of the map is in its second state, it was published in 1942 in the Dutch edition of Theatrum Orbis Terarrum, Nieuwe Atlas. [3]


[1] Burden 193

[2] Ford, W. C. (1924). Captain John Smith’s Map of Virginia, 1612. Geographical Review, 14(3), 433–443. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/208424

[3] Van der Krogt, II, 9410:2.2

HONDIUS, Jodocus II / BLAEU, Willem