De Wit's sea atlas in fine original colour
By WIT, Frederick de , 1680

[Orbis Maritimus ofte Zee Atlas].

  • Author: WIT, Frederick de
  • Publication place: Amsterdam
  • Publisher: Frederick de Wit
  • Publication date: c.1680
  • Physical description: Folio atlas (545 by 340mm), list of contents, 27 double-page engraved charts, all with FINE ORIGINAL OUTLINE HAND-COLOUR, all on modern guards, modern quarter vellum over blue paper boards, spine gilt.
  • Inventory reference: 1021


This set of 27 finely-wrought charts were first published by De Wit as the ‘Orbis Maritimus ofte Zee-Atlas’ in 1675, and, after 1680, were often issued bound together with his atlas of geographical maps. In the latter case the charts were listed on a printed index, together with the geographical maps, as is the case in the present atlas. It would appear that this is a particularly early issue of the charts, as many are present in their early states.

The atlas contains one of the most decorative world maps of the seventeenth century. The map bears the signature of the Dutch engraver and artist Romeyn de Hooghe, who would later be responsible for the nine beautiful baroque charts that made up the ‘Cartes marines a … Roy de la Grande Bretagne’. To the borders de Hooghe etched “large and lively scenes allegorically representing the four elements. Fire is shown by war and destruction; air by the heavens; earth by harvesting and husbandry; and water by ships and a spouting whale” (Shirley).

The charts would have a long publication run stretching into the nineteenth century. After de Wit’s death in 1710, the plates were acquired by Louis Renard, who substantially revised many of the charts and published them in 1715 and 1739. After Renard, the plates were brought by the Ottens brothers, again revised, and published in their atlas of 1745. The plates were finally acquired by G. Hulst van Keulen, whose widow re-issued them in 1802.


  1. Koeman M.Wit 2
  2. Shirley, World, 444.

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