Spieghel der Zeevaerdt

The first milestone in the development of maritime cartography in the Northern Netherlands is the work of Lucas Jansz Waghenaer (1533/34-1606). In 1584 this former pilot from the coastal port of Enkhuizen published his Spieghel der Zeevaerdt, a guide for navigators containing a complete collection of large-scale printed sea charts for the whole area regularly sailed by Dutch ships. Waghenaer is considered to be the founder and promoter of the North Holland School of Cartographers, a group of cartographers working between 1583 and 1636 in Enkhuizen, Edam and Warder. They were engaged in making sea charts of the European and Asiatic waters with an obvious emphasis on the artistic angle, which resulted in a number of outstandingly decorated charts on vellum. Characteristic of their work are the borders, decorated with floral designs, and the mainland illustrations, including town plans and views. Equally striking are the windroses, the ships at sea, the marine animals, and the multicoloured legends in different typeface. The meticulous care of the drawings, colouring and legends suggest that these sea charts were not made to be used at sea, but served a decorative and consultative purpose on land. This did not imply, however, that their geographical accuracy came second. The cartographers based themselves on current hydrographical information when they edited their charts, which can also stand the test of criticism in this respect. The Koninklijke Bibliotheek has two anonymous maps, drawn on vellum, which can both be attributed to the Edam cartographer Evert Gijsbertsz because of their decorative and artistic features. On the first the western part of the Indian Ocean is depicted. The second, reproduced here, covers the area of the New World south of Newfoundland to the Strait of Magallanes. In the top left-hand corner, actually in the south-east of North America, is a plan of Mexico City, while a view of the Peruvian town of Cuzco is found in the centre. The map is based exclusively on Spanish and Portuguese sources.

From 1596 onwards Gijsbertsz used Jan Huygen van Linschoten's Itinerario as the source for his charts. Apparently he did not yet have the book at his disposal for this map of Central and South America, which warrants the conclusion that it was made before 1596.

Tabula geographica ac thalassographica in qua tota Peruana ac magna Mexicanae pars cum suis insulis accurate describuntur. [Evert Gijsbertsz?]. [Edam, before 1596]. Vellum, 872 x 1120 mm. 78 B 28

Tabula geographica ac thalassographica in qua tota Peruana ac magna Mexicanae pars cum suis insulis accurate describuntur. [Evert Gijsbertsz?]. [Edam, before 1596]. Vellum, 872 x 1120 mm. 78 B 28

Literature

G. Schilder, 'De Noordhollandse cartografenschool', in: Lucas Jansz. Waghenaer. De maritieme cartografie in de Nederlanden in de zestiende en het begin van de zeventiende eeuw. Enkhuizen 1984, p. 47-72.