The scarce English Edition of the Mercator/Hondius atlas in original colour
By MERCATOR, Gerard. , 1638

Atlas or A Geographicke description of the Regions. Counties and Kingdoms of the world, through Europe, Asia, Africa, and America, represented by New & Exact Maps. Translated by Henry Hexham, Quarter-master to the Regiment of Colonell Goring.

  • Author: MERCATOR, Gerard.
  • Publication place: A Amsterdam
  • Publisher: Chez Henry Hondius demeurant sur le Dam, a l'enseigne du Chien vigilant.
  • Publication date: 1638.
  • Physical description: Two volumes, folio atlas (482 by 333mm), engraved titles, with letterpress overslips over titles, dedication leaf to Charles I, double-page engraved portrait of Mercator and Hondius, 196 double-page engraved maps in fine contemporary outline hand-colour, several creases, areas of discolouration and damp-spotting throughout, several old paper repairs, bound to style in English panelled calf, spine in seven compartments separated by raised bands.
  • Inventory reference: 2683


The English edition of the Mercator-Hondius ‘Atlas’ contained some 20 new maps: eight in the first volume and 12 in the second. This dramatic revision was “greater than in any of the former editions of the atlas” (Koeman). Mercator’s maps of England, Scotland, and Ireland have been corrected and improved with new vignettes, and several others bear the imprint of Henricus Hondius. In the second volume one can see the rise of Janssonius within the publishing partnership with many of the regional maps of France, and many that previously bore Henricus Hondius’ name, now bearing Jansonnius’ imprint.

The present work would remain the only folio atlas produced by the great publishing houses of Janssonius and Blaeu to bear English text. The text was translated by Henry Hexham (1585?-1650), an English soldier and military writer who saw active service during the numerous Dutch campaigns of the early seventeenth century. It would appear that Hexham not only saw service, but also took up residence in Holland and became personally acquainted with both the then Prince of Orange, Prince Maurice of Nassau, and his brother Frederick Henry.

The present example conforms to Koeman 1:341.1B, with the title in the first volume printed on an overslip, which is pasted over the French title, although not the French imprint.


Bridget Hotham (1671-1707) (signature on loose endpaper), second daughter of Sir John Hotham of Scarborough Bart. (d.1645). Married prominent Parliamentarian Godfrey Bosville (1654-1714), member of the Long Parliament.

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