11. Jan Jansson 1644


Jan Jansson the Elder was a publisher in Arnhem who produced the new Atlas Minor in 1607 in conjunction with Jodocus Hondius. This association introduced the Janssons to the Mercator/Hondius family and the younger Jan married Hondius’ daughter in 1612. Gerard Mercator (1512-94) was the leading Dutch cartographer in the latter half of the century. He formulated his own map projection and was the first to use the term Atlas for a collection of maps.

Jodocus Hondius (1563-1611), a master engraver, acquired the Mercator business in 1606 and produced the second edition of the Mercator Atlas in 1607. His sons, Henry (1587-1638) and Jodocus (1594-1629) were also first-class engravers and continued updating and reissuing the atlas. Jodocus, like Mercator, had once been a religious refugee in London and there he most likely met John Speed for whom he engraved a series of county maps (6).

Jan Jansson (1588-1664) joined the firm in 1633. The first English edition of the Hondius/Mercator Atlas came out in 1636 and in the German edition of the same year the first British county maps appeared. In the Dutch Appendix of 1644 further county maps were introduced including Devon. The fourth volume of the Novus Atlas, containing the full set of the British maps, appeared in 1646.

Jansson was now the sole owner and, like his great rival Blaeu (12), determined to produce a full atlas of the world. The Atlas continued to expand and was finally completed in a 9- or 11-volume edition. The two great Dutch atlases appeared almost simultaneously and have much in common, especially their derivation from Speed; it is sometimes suggested that Jansson copied Blaeu. Apart from the imprint difference, Jansson used flamboyant lettering, as did Mercator, and had two scales.

After Jansson’s death his son-in-law, Johannes van Waesberghe, carried on the business. When he died the plates were sold at auction. Peter Schenk and Gerard Valk acquired the British plates and sold individual maps. They then sold the plates or, more likely, quantities of maps to Henry Overton, Carol Allard and John Seller who included the maps in their collections. 


Size 380 x 490 mm. Milliaria Anglica (12 = 78 mm) and
  Milliaria Germanica communia (3 = 78 mm).

 DEVONIAE DESCRIPTIO. The DESCRIPTION of DEVON-SHIRE with imprint: Amstelodami Apud Ioannem Ianßonium. No shields covering area of Cornwall.

1. 1644  Des Nieuwen Atlantis Aenhang 1  
    Amsterdam. Jan Jansson. 1644. KM Me75a, [Haarlem].
 2. 1646 Eight coats of arms added in the area of Cornwall (Aa-Ad) (DEI), (NDL). 
    Novus Atlas Sive Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Vol. IV Great Britain 2  
    Amsterdam. Jan Jansson. 1646. LXX, S34, BL, C.
    Le Nouvel Atlas ou Theatre du Monde (French text) (DevA).
    Amsterdam. Jan Jansson. 1646, 1647, 1656. S35; LXXII, S39, BL, W;S61, BCL.
    Novus Atlas Oder Welt-Beschreibung (German text)             S40, [Hunt.]; LXXIV, S46, BL;
    Amsterdam. Jan Jansson. 1647, 1649, 1652, 1647 (1658). LXXIII, S53, BL, NMM; S63.
    Nieuwen Atlas, ofte Werelt-Beschrijvinghe (Dutch text)             S41 [BvF]; S47 [Hunt.]; LXXVI, S54, Adm.
    Amsterdam. Jan Jansson. 1647, 1649, 1652, 1653, 1659.  S56 [BRdB]; S67 [Lib. Cong.].
    Novus Atlas Absolutissimus. Das ist Generale Welt-Beschreibung  3  
    Amsterdam. Jan Jansson. 1647 (1659). S68, NMM.
3. 1652 Lunday added (Ab). Hartland Hundred and Launston corrected. (DevA), (DEI).
    Novus Atlas Sive Theatrum Orbis Terrarum Tomus quartus 4  
    Amsterdam. Jan Jansson. 1659  LXXVII, S66, BL, B, RGS.
    Guilielmi Cambdeni Brittannia Magna Illustrata 5  
    Amsterdam. Jan Jansson. (1659).   CB.
    Novus Atlas Sive Theatrum Orbis Terrarum Tomus quartus6       
    Amsterdam. Jan Jansson. 1652. LXXV, S52, C.
    Overton Atlas II 7 (DevA).8
    London. John Overton. (1675). S91, CB.
    Atlas Major  
    Amsterdam. Carol Allard. (1705). LXXX, H130, BL.
4. 1714 No text. Imprint now Amstelodami Apud P. SCHENK et G. VALK. Plate number 3 (Ee).   
    Exeter as street plan. Graticule added with latitude and longitude noted.       
    Nieuwe Atlas  
    Amsterdam. Johannes Covens & Cornelius Mortier. (1707-41). KM C&M10.
    Atlas Anglois Ou Description Generale De L’Angleterre           
    London. D Mortier. 1714, 1715. H131, W; H132 (P).9
    Nova Totius Geographica Telluris Projecto   
    Amsterdam. Gerard Valk. (1717). [Sold at Sotheby’s 13.4.1989.]
    Composite atlas with no title page. CB.
5. 1715 Map is not numbered.   
    Atlas Anglois part of Nouveau theatre de la Grande-Bretagne 10  
    London. D Mortier. 1715 (1728). KM Val2, H133, [Lib. Cong.].
    Atlas Anglois  
    London. Joseph Smith. 1724 (1728). LXXXI, H134, BL.

[1] Dutch text on reverse: HET GRAEF SCHAP DEVONIA OF DEVONSHIRE. Illustration courtesy of Malcolm Woodward.

[2] Latin text I of Camden’s Britannia on reverse ends with word quinde.

[3] German text. Page 175, Sign Fff.

[4] Latin text II. Last word on page 134 is quin.

[5] Latin text II. Only this copy known.

[6] Skelton lists this atlas with no text: the date could be a misprint for 1656 or 1662 and Part II is dated 1662.

[7] This, and the Allard copy, had no text. Overton Atlas I had Blaeu’s map (12), for later Overton atlases see entry 18.

[8] Exeter copy above may be from Allard, c.1705.

[9] Atlas formerly belonging to Dr. Eric Gardner, present whereabouts unknown.

[10] The Atlas Anglois contains a Supplement published by J Groenewegen & N Prevost dated 1728.