Going Dutch

Around 260 of the world’s best dealers are taking part in the 26th edition of TEFAF Maastricht. Apollo previews this year’s highlights.

Daniel Crouch – a specialist dealer in antique atlases, maps and sea charts – presents a collection of Leonis Belgici, maps of the Low Countries drawn in the shape of a lion. The earliest known example was drawn by the Austrian cartographer Michael Aitzinger in 1583, as the northern provinces fought for their independence from Spain in the Eighty Years’ War. The motif was inspired by the heraldic figure of a lion that occurred in the coats of arms of several provinces, as well as in that of William of Orange. The ‘Peaceful Lion’, pictured here, by the Dutch etcher and publisher Visscher is the most famous, and was published to mark the Twelve Years’ Truce, signed in 1609. The map depicts the 17 provinces as a peaceful unity, symbolised by the sheathed sword of the lion and the sleeping figure of Mars.