De Fransche Neptunus, of Nieuwe Atlas van de Zeekarten...
JAILLOT, Hunter & MORTIER, Pierre

De Fransche Neptunus, of Nieuwe Atlas van de Zeekarten...

Pieter Mortier
Size : 65 x 52.5 cm

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JAILLOT, Hunter -MORTIER, Pierre. De Fransche Neptunus, of Nieuwe Atlas van de Zeekarten... [with] Zee atlas tot het gebruik van de vlooten des Konings van Groot Britanje ... [with] Vervolg van de Neptunus, of Zee Atlas van de NieuweZee- Karten… Amsterdam, Pieter Mortier, 1693-1700.

Magnificent copy of the most spectacular marine atlas ever published.

Three parts in two volumes, double Elephant folio (65 x 52.5 cm). Bound by the Double Drawer Handle Bindery (1697-1742?), the most important Amsterdam workshop of the 18th century, in richly gold-tooled calf of which four motives or stamps are identified as being used by the Double Drawer Handle Bindery: both rolls on the boards with flowering foliage and flowers, the centrepiece showing Atlas staggering under the weight of a celestial globe, the four corner pieces, and the small globes on spine, with a loosely stamped supporting base. Bindings only slightly worn. Hardly any browning or foxing; a few light creases in the gutter margin. As usual the copper green colouring in volume one has turned into a brownish hue and caused acidic damage to a few small patches in six maps. Complete copies are extremely rare.

Part I. Engraved allegorical frontispiece by Jan van Vianen, title-page with a large vignette, engraved plates of comparative nautical scales, an admirals ship and a series of 18 numbered ships, 12 plates of flags, 30 double-page nautical chart including one of the world and 29 of the coasts of Europe.

Part II. Beautiful engraved frontispiece by Romeyn de Hooghe, title-page with a large vignette, 9 full-page and double-page nautical charts of the coasts of the English Channel by Romeyn de Hooghe, including a splendid large folding chart of the coasts of the Mediterranean with a large number of views and plans of the Mediterranean towns in the borders. 

Part III. Title-page with engraved coat-of-arms of Amsterdam, the winds, and 34 mostly double-page nautical charts of the coasts outside Europe (including Africa, Asia and America).

All engravings, including the vignettes on title-pages, the scales and the winds, magnificently coloured and highlighted in gold throughout by a contemporary hand.

First edition of undoubtedly the most beautiful and most spectacular nautical atlas of the 17th century, a complete and unusually well-preserved copy with a noble provenance : the engravings coloured for the publisher and highlighted in gold, bound in the publisher’s decorative gold-tooled mottled calf. 

«The Neptune François and its second part Cartes marines à l’usage du Roy de la Grande Bretagne was the most expensive sea-atlas ever published in Amsterdam in the 17th century. Its charts are larger and more lavishly decorated than those of any preceding book of this kind. For the engraving and etching Mortier had recruited the most qualified artists... In 1700, Mortier brought out a third volume with charts of the outer-European waters, of French origin edited by N. P. d’Ablancourt: Suite du Neptune François. 

Apart from the first volume which had a second edition in 1703, none of the atlases was republished. This magnificent work was intended more as a show-piece than something to be used by the pilots at sea» (Koeman). The second part was engraved by Romeyn de Hooghe, the prolific late Dutch Baroque painter: «This volume is usually bound together with the first part, the Neptune François. It only contains nine large charts, but this small number represents the most spectacular type of maritime cartography ever produced in 17th century Amsterdam» (Koeman). In addition to the charts called for by the table of contents, part one has a fine world map (Shirley 559). The 3 plates of ships listed at the beginning of the table will be found in part 3, which therefore has 19 plates of ships instead of the 18 called for by the table and the 12(!) mentioned by Koeman.

Provenance : From a southern German castle library with small 18th century bookplate pasted to verso of both engraved titles; old shelfmark pencilled on the inside of the boards.

References : Koeman, , M. Mor 3, 6 & 8; cf. Pastoureau, Neptune Ba. For the binding : Storm van Leeuwen. Dutch decorated bookbinding in the eighteenth century, pp. 228-284 (here used IX, X, F, 115).

JAILLOT, Hunter & MORTIER, Pierre