“Immediately recognized as superior to anything else on the market” (Martin & Martin)

The Gulf of Mexico Deconstructed

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317. [MAP]. KEULEN, Gerard van. Pas Kaart van de Golff van Mexico t Amsterdam by Gerard van Keulen Boek en Zee kaart verkoper aande Niewe-Brug inde Gekroonde Lootsman, Met Privilegie voor 15 iaaren; [cartouche at upper right with two cherubs, one with falcon and anchor, the other with snake and mirror, plant life beneath]; [inset map at lower left] De Haaven van Iuan d’Ulhua in t Groot. Amsterdam, 1734. Copper-engraved sea chart with contemporary outline and shading color, two compass roses, ship, and rhumb lines; neat line to neat line: 51 x 58.6 cm; overall sheet size: 53.4 x 61 cm. Mild to moderate age-toning. Trimmed close and blank borders a bit chipped, but image unaffected.

     Fourth state, with revisions, most closely matching Burden’s State 4 (#592), except here the figure 14 is lacking at lower right (the present copy has 14 at lower left and no number at lower right); “Coast de Piscadoris”offshore at top center; large shoal off Yucatán coast; shoal off Florida extended up to and inside the “Baja de Spirito Sancto”; with many added place names; more precise delineation of the mouth of the Mississippi. The name of Johannes van Keulen has been scrubbed from the title, and his son’s name, Gerard van Keulen, substituted. The first state of the map was 1684. See also Koeman (Vol. 4, p. 384, published 1970) 129**. Lowery 236. See Koeman’s history of the firm of Van Keulen, The Sea on Paper 44. Martin & Martin Plate 11 (citing original edition; see also pp. 14 & 29):

The culmination in the development of Dutch pilot books was reached with the publication of De Nieuwwe Groote lichtrende Zee-Fakkel by Johannes van Keulen in 1681. Van Keulen, a bookseller specializing in the nautical trade, retained the well-known geographer and mathematician Claes Jansz Vooght, who compiled the charts for his publication, which was issued serially in five parts, the last in 1683. The work...enjoyed a considerable reputation for accuracy and detail.... It represented the most sophisticated rendering of the coast then available.... It is no exaggeration to say that the house of Van Keulen, active without break from 1678 to 1885, was the largest nongovernmental hydrographic office in the world.

     Burden (592) comments on the map: “The main feature of this map is its originality of form. It is the first sea chart of the western portion of the Gulf of Mexico detailing the coastal waters of present-day Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana.” This map is an update, by Gerard van Keulen, of a chart originally by Claes Jansz Vooght (d. 1696), surveyor, author, teacher of mathematics and the art of navigation, and publisher of Johannes van Keulen. One of his students was the son of Johannes and the maker of this map, Gerard van Keulen (1678-1726), who took over the company in 1704 and built up a reputation for the quality of their navigational charts.

     Van Keulen’s grand sea atlas first appeared serially between 1681 and 1684. The Gulf of Mexico chart first appeared in the fourth part of the atlas (ca. 1684), which was devoted to the Americas. Because of its superiority to anything else then available, the atlas was reissued repeatedly (the present map is a reissue of the 1684 map, with revisions). As is often the case with Dutch charts, west is at the top of the map, making the orientation unusual.


Sold. Hammer: $1,500.00; Price Realized: $1,837.50.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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