Rediscovering the Jansson & Hondius Atlases of Henry Vignaud
A Brief History
The maps in this exhibit provide a unique glimpse into the competitive cartographic publishing world that existed during the 17th century in Amsterdam. Jodocus Hondius Sr. returned to the Netherlands in 1593 and established the Hondius publishing house in Amsterdam, the center of cartographic production. Jodocus Hondius Sr. purchased the copper plates of the famous mapmaker Gerhard Mercator around 1604. Hondius built his publishing success from his Mercator-Hondius atlas, which was a compilation of Mercator's maps and a series of new maps. After his father's death in 1612, Jodocus Hondius Jr. and his brother, Henricus, took over the family business and began to publish their own atlases, including maps that had previously belonged to their father. Unfortunately in 1621 Jodocus Hondius Jr. split with his brother, creating a rival publishing house. Henricus Hondius continued his father's business with his brother-in-law, Jan Jansson.
In 1629 a series of copper plates were sold from Jodocus Hondius Jr.'s estate to his family's competitor, Willem Jansz. Blaeu. The sale included plates which had previously belonged to his father, as well as a new series that Hondius Jr. had commissioned. At the time the Blaeu and Hondius families were locked in a race to produce the newest, most complete and accurate atlas of the time. Due to this competition both firms began creating appendices, which contained maps with no text on the verso. Printing the maps with no text allowed for them to produce new atlases at a faster rate. During this time Hondius and Jansson produced new atlases together and individually. In 1630 Jan Jansson published his Atlantis Maioris Appendix with Henricus Hondius releasing his edition in 1631. Peter van der Krogt speculates that "probably the main use of these atlases was to serve as collections of maps to be added to older atlases. This way of using the appendices...can explain the extreme rarity of these editions" (Krogt, 123). The maps in the Clark Library's collection appear to support this hypothesis.
Krogt, Peter van der. Koeman's Atlantes Neerlandici Vol. 1, HES Publishers, 't Goy-Houten, the Netherlands. 1997.