Hudson Bay and Arctic Canada
Superb and interesting
Date of first edition: 1675
Date of this map: 1675
Dimensions copper plate (without margins): 55 x 48,5 cm
Dimensions (including margins): 63 x 54,5 cm
Condition: Very good. On strong paper with wide margins. Original colouring.
Condition rating: A+
From: Zee-Atlas, 1675
Hudson Bay and Arctic Canada
Striking example of de Wit’s first state map of Hudson Bay, Baffin Bay, Button Bay, Davis Straits and contiguous parts of the coastline of Canada and Greenland.
The present example is the first state of the map, and is part of a series of charts of the region that began with Van Loon’s map of 1668. The basic template remained Hessel Gerritz’s printed version of Henry Hudson’s charts, published in Amsterdam in 1612. Over time the cartography was improved by Jansson, Blaeu and Sanson, from which the present depiction has been composed. Fredertick De Wit (1630-1706) was by the time this chart was published the leading Dutch mapmaker. His chart came out at a critical juncture, for in 1670, the English had founded the Hudson’s Bay Company, which would domoniate commerce in the region for the next 250 years. De Wit’s map remained the authoritiative printed chart of these subarctic waters for the remainder of the century.
The composition is traversed with rhumblines and is embellished with two allegorical cartouches, while a pair of ships fight a battle in the Davis Strait.
Title: De Noordelyck zee kusten van America van Groenland door de Straet Davis ende Straet Hudson tot Terra Neuf apud
Title Translation: North America, Greenland, by David’s Strait and Hudson and the New World.
Description: Septentrionaliora Americae Groenlandia, per Freta Davidis et Hudson at Terram Novam
This map became popular: Louis Renard published Atlas de la Navigation in 1715 using de Wit plates. In 1739 R. & J. Ottens published two atlases, one with Renard’s name and the other with their own. In 1745 Ottens reset a new title page without Renard’s name and included this map.
De Wit (1629 ca.-1706) was a mapmaker and mapseller who was born in Gouda but who worked and died in Amsterdam. He moved to the city in 1648, where he opened a printing operation under the name of The Three Crabs; later, he changed the name of his shop to The White Chart.
From the 1660s onward, he published atlases with a variety of maps; he is best known for his Atlas Minor (1670), Zee-Atlas (1675) and his Atlas Maior (1690). He also published an atlas with Dutch town maps.
After Frederik’s death in 1706, his wife Maria ran the shop for four years before selling it. Their son, Franciscus, was a stockfish merchant and had no interest in the map shop. At the auction to liquidate the de Wit stock, most of the plates went to Pieter Mortier, whose firm eventually became Covens & Mortier, one of the biggest cartography houses of the eighteenth century.