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Cartouche Maps by Willem Blaeu. From Nouvel Atlas. Amsterdam: Willem & Joan Blaeu, 1643-50. Double folio maps, ca. 15 x 21. Engravings. Excellent original hand color. Very good condition, except as noted. French text on verso.

A series of wonderfully decorative maps of France and its regions by Willem (Guilielmus) Janszoon Blaeu (1571-1638), the progenitor of the famous Blaeu cartographic firm of Amsterdam. Blaeu studied astronomy and sciences with Tycho Brahe, and in 1599 established a globe and instrument making business which soon expanded to include cartographic and geographic publishing. This firm was to go on to become the largest and most important cartographic publishing firms in the world, run by his sons Cornelis (until his death in 1642) and Joan. The maps issued by the Blaeu firm are known for their fine craftsmanship and design, and have been called "the highest expression of Dutch cartographical art." These maps, with their excellent original color, are premier examples of the Blaeu output.

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