Blaeu, William

, an eminent printer, and publisher of geographical maps and charts, was born at Amsterdam | in 1571, and died there in 1638. He was the scholar and friend of Tycho-Brahe, and applied himself, besides his particular art, to the study of geography and astronomy. When he had formed the design of his celebrated “Atlas,” he gave liberal prices to the most experienced geographers and draughtsmen for original maps, which he procured to be engraved with great care, and all the elegance which the state of the arts in his time could admit. Eager, however, as he was to render this work perfect, as he was obliged to trust to the incomplete and dubious relations of travellers, the work is now valued chierly as a beautiful specimen of engraving, and bears a considerable price, especially when coloured. It was entitled the “Grand Atlas geographique,” or “Theatrum Mundi” and including the celestial and hydrographical maps, forms 14 vols. fol. 1663 67, very little of it having been published in his life-time, but. the whole completed by his sons. He published also, “Instruction astronomique de l’usage des globes et sphere celestes et terrestres,” Amst. 1642, 4to 1669, 4to. There was a neatness in all his publications of this description, which has been rarely imitated. An accidental fire which destroyed the greater part of the first edition of the atlas and of his other works, rendered them for some time in great demand. His “Theatrum urbium et munimentorum,” was another collection of views and maps in much esteem. These and other designs were pursued and completed by his sons John and Cornelius, and, the latter dying young, chiefly by John, who was also the printer of a great many classics, which yield in beauty only to the Elzevirs. Among the geographical works of John Blaeu, are, 1. “Novum ac magnum theatrum civitatum totius Belgiae,1649, 2 vols. fol. 2. “Civitates et admirandae Italiae,1663, 2 vols. fol. reprinted with a French text, Amst. 1704, 4 vols. fol. and Hague, 1724. 3. “Theatrum Sabaudise et Pedemontii,1682, 2 vols. fol. translated and published under the title “Theatre de Piemont e de la Savoie,” by James Bernard, Hague, 1735, 2 vols. fol. Vossius and Grotius speak in high terms of the talents and industry of John and Cornelius Blaeu. It may be noticed that John Blaeu sometimes concealed himself under a fictitious name. His edition of “Erythraei Pinacotheca,” a work to which we have sometimes referred, was published with Cologne in the title page, instead of | Amsterdam, and Jodocus Kalcovius, instead of John Blavius, or Blaeu. 1


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