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A Fine Example in Original Color of
Captain John Smith’s Map of Virginia

Virginia/ Maryland.. SMITH, CAPT. J./ BLAEU, W. [Amsterdam, 1630]
Nova Virginiae Tabula. 14 ¾ x 18 ¾ inches.
Fine original color; fine condition.


A sterling example in superb original color of the classic Dutch engraving of Capt. John Smith's map of the Chesapeake Bay and region, the first European map of the area. Smith's map was a remarkably accurate work for its period and is a valuable record of Indian tribes that existed at the time. In fact, the map is unusual in acknowledging the role of Indian informants in its creation; Maltese Crosses indicate the areas beyond which were based on Indian reports. Also found on the engraving is a portrait of Powhatan in the upper left.
The plate from which this map was printed was engraved in 1618 by Jodocus Hondius Junior, son of the great map and globe publisher. It is now believed (see Burden) that the plate was sold to the Blaeu firm in 1630, at which time the imprint was changed to that of Blaeu. (Ghosts of the incompletely erased J and H of the Hondius imprint are visible beneath that of Blaeu.) The 1618 state of the map, which is extremely rare, was the earliest derivative of Smith’s map, which was originally published in England in 1612. The firm of Henricus Hondius, the other son of the master, copied the map from the Hondius-Blaeu version adding its own imprint. Thus, the sequence of Dutch editions of the map, in the folio format, is from J. Hondius Jr. to Blaeu to H. Hondius.

Burden 193; Verner in Tooley America, pp. 161-62.

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