Stichting Historische Cartografie van de Nederlanden

Monday, 22 April 2019 

Anecdota Cartografica II, een Spaans oordeel over de Nederlandse cartografie

At the end of the 18th century a Spanish cartographer Tomas Lopez de Vargas Machuca (1730-1802) published a map of the Netherlands ‘Mapa del Pais Baxo de las dies y siete | Provincias Unidas | Que también llaman Germania Inferior’.

In the left corner outside the border: 'Se hallará este con todas las obras del author en Madrid, en la Calle de Atocha esquina de la Concepcion Geronima, casa nueva de Santo Tomas' (this map is like the other works of the author available in Madrid in Atocha street, at the corner of Geronima Concepcion, the new home of St. Thomas). A copy of the map is located in Göttingen, Ns.SUb., Mapp 4068, Madrid, BN, cartografia. M.II.Ba.6.

Right of the cartouche in the middle of the sea is a large block of text with a brief summary, surprisingly detailed history of Dutch cartography:

Old maps of the Netherlands as a whole does not lack. If we disregard the first map, the most modern maps are of Visscher, De Witt, Inselin, Jaillot, Coven, Mortier and Ottens. The best is by the heirs of Homann published in 1747 by the design Tobias Mayer has provided them, which I have followed most part because I considered it accurate and reliable. There are separate maps of the provinces of the United Netherlands though. The most common are those of Visscher, De Witt and Ottens. The heirs of Homann engraved some part cards in 1748, which are not entirely without errors but were still usable.  Also those of De l'Isle are worth it, which were copied by Coven and Mortier.
F. de Witt and J. Ottens made very good maps of the duchy Gelderland, or down-Gelder, including the county of Zutphen. W.A. Bachiene, a preacher from London, has corrected a few errors and on the basis of them Coven and Mortier engraved new ones which were better than the former. There are very good maps of the county of Holland by Nicolaas Visscher, Schenk junior, De Witt, Ottens and other geographers have been issued. Visscher was the first to make maps of south and north Holland made. From the county Zeeland, there are no better maps than those of De Witt, Allard and Smallegange. The most valued map of the glory Utrecht is designed by Bernard du Roy and published by Visscher. Schotanus a Sterringa drew a map of the glory Friesland which was published by Fridolin (sic) de Witt. There are also maps of other areas, such as the maps of F. Ottens, but the best in this point of view are those of Halma. We know of a map of the glory or province of Overijssel, published by N. Visscher to a design of N. Have that was improved at first by F. de Witt and then by Ottens. From the glory Groningen the same De Witt made a good map. The map by Ottens is, nor regarding the engraving, nor regarding the accuracy,outmatched. From the area Drente there exists two which were published by Schenk and Valk.
The provinces which belong to the Bourgondic Kreits (he meant the Spanish Netherlands VDH), are described in the large map in 24 sheets which were published in 1709 by Henri Fricx. Crépy did the same on 15 sheets in 1744; Seutter on 24 sheets quarto and De Fer on 26 sheets. Mortier combined them with the islands of Zeeland and part of the county of Holland on 28 sheets. Moll in England on two sheets, like many other mapmakers who can only be mentioned in a history of Dutch cartography and that are quite a few. The old maps of the Duchy of Brabant which were made by Mercator, Blaeu and Medtmann were later improved by others. Visscher edited Blaeu’s map and published them in 5 sheets. Mr. Dheulland drew the Duchy of Brabant and Holland County on 24 quarto sheets in 1747. Crépy did the same on 35 small sheets. Boudet drew Brabant and Namur on 2 sheets in 1752 and Jaillot the surroundings of Antwerp on 3. Gil Martini designed a map of the duchy of Limburg in 1603 which was engraved in copper by Mercator and Blaeu and was re-issued in 1693 by Visscher, De Witt and Jaillot.
Jacques (Santiago VDH) Surhon was the first who made a very poor map of the duchy of Luxembourg. Those of Blaeu and Mercator were not much better but they were improved by Visscher, De Witt, Homann, Boudet and Jaillot. there are many maps of Flanders on one or two sheets. Blaeu made a few maps of it and Boudet did the same in 1762. Visscher made a map of Flanders in 6 sheets better than any other. The special maps of the county of Henegouwen on one sheet are those of Mercator, Blaeu, De Witt, De l'Isle in 1706, Nolin, Jaillot in 1720, Homann, Boudet 1754 and Robert in 1764. Jean Surhon designed a map of the county Namen which was engraved in copper by Blaeu, De Witt, Visscher, Nolin and the heirs of Homann in 1746. Jaillot made one of this county in 2 sheets.
His Imperial Majesty, had the map of the Austrian Netherlands made on 25 sheets. He gave Lieutenant-General The Ferraris the order to seek the most suitable young men of mathematics education (in Mechelen, VDH) to do the job. They managed to complete the work and published a very good map from that area
It is remarkable that in 1784 in Spain a map with the title of the XVII Provinces appears which is enriched with a brief but surprisingly detailed history of Dutch cartography. The early cartographers of the 16th century are no longer taken into account; not even Ortelius is counted in and he even assigns s maps to Mercator which appeared in the Mercator-Hondius Atlas long after the death of Mercator. The end of the 17th and 18th century is the most important period to the author. The best map that he knows of the Netherlands (and hence copy) is that of Tobias Mayer (VDH Map 270).
The yellow dotted line separates the Duchy of Brabant with Flanders. He also indicates which parts of the United Netherlands belong to the States General and which part belongs to the Austrian House. The green dotted line separates the county of Flanders with Henegouwen. The northern part of that line is Austrian, the southern part is French. Amsterdam is 21 ° 31 'east longitude - assuming the meridian crossing Greenwich, UK on the Pico Teide, which is 18 ° 52' west of Paris - and at a latitude of 49 ° 51'38 "according to the time calculation for each year which is published on commission by the Académie des Sciences. "
Map 305 isn’t included in the extensive list of Lopez by G. Marcel.

Literature G. Marcel, El geografo Tomas Lopez. In: Boletin de la Real Sociedad Geografica 50, 1908, p. 402-543, PHILLIPS 4065, VDH 305

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