Telling the time with stars
By STAMPIOEN, Jan Jansz the Younger, [and] Marten CALMAM , 1722

Onderwys in 't Regte Gebruyk van het Hemels-Plyn strekkende tot nut en vermaak der liefhebbers.

Planetaria, calendars, and dials
  • Author: STAMPIOEN, Jan Jansz the Younger, [and] Marten CALMAM
  • Publication place: Amsterdam
  • Publisher: Jochem Hasebroek
  • Publication date: c1722
  • Physical description: Large engraved celestial chart by Stampioen with a rotating printed paper ring (volvelle or rete) on an off-centre axis to indicate the part of the sky visible at any date and time and to make a variety of celestial calculations, all for the Netherlands' latitude of 52 degrees. With letterpress instructions by Calman on a separate slip at the right. The sky image 33 cm in diameter; the whole chart with the letterpress slip as mounted 49 x 61.5 cm. A string with a bead serves as a pointer for aligning the scales in the stationary and rotating parts. Coloured by a contemporary hand and mounted on contemporary boards covered with marbled paper, apparently by the publisher, so that it can be folded in half for carrying.
  • Dimensions: 500 by 630mm. (19.75 by 24.75 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 1992


The chart is here in its third state, but we have located no complete example of any earlier version. The Boerhaave Museum in Leiden has the chart without volvelle or instructional text, published by Doncker, but the 1664 edition described in Doncker’s advertisement clearly included the volvelle and instructional text. Perhaps the surviving chart is the 1684 version mentioned but not seen by Bierens de Haan, who provides neither a detailed description nor a source for his information. They and the present version (printed from Doncker’s plate c1722) seem to have appeared only as separate publications, hence their great rarity. The circular border around the sky image and the outer part of the volvelle include scales with several kinds of data so that the chart can be used for various purposes. One can use the string to align the time in the volvelle with the date in the border of the chart, so that the part of the sky visible at that moment appears inside the volvelle. The chart with its volvelle, scales and string can also be used to calculate times for the rising and setting of constellations at various dates (or to calculate the present time based on the position of the stars). Fifty-three constellations are numbered quarter by quarter (15, 9, 14 and 15), with a Dutch key identifying them in each corner. Calman’s instructional text, printed letterpress on a separate slip (495 by 185 cm) and mounted to the right of the chart itself, describes the different scales, etc., then presents nine “proposals” (giving examples of the use of the chart). If the volvelle is turned with 12 midnight to the right, the boards can be folded to each other like a portfolio, protecting the chart and making it easier to carry. It may have been published in this form, for the only other copy located, at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, is similarly mounted. The marbled paper covering the portfolio, similar to Wolfe 33-35, was common in the Netherlands in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.

In the plate of the star chart itself is engraved, “Auct. J. Stampioen. ‘t Amsterdam by Iochem Hasebroek” but Hasebroek’s name is larger and in a different style than the rest of the lettering, and one can see traces of an earlier name under it. Although the older name cannot be deciphered, one can see that “Hendrick Doncker” would fit (with traces of the h and Do, and marks where the ascenders to the d, k and k would have been), making it clear that the present chart is printed from Doncker’s original plate. Calman advertised his Amsterdam boarding school for calligraphy, mathematics, etc. in 1722, and Hasebroek (1682- 1756) is recorded as a sea chart publisher and instrument maker from 1714 to 1743.


  1. Koeman IV, p. 5 (no location noted
  2. cf. p. 153)
  3. Warner, Sky Explored, p. 260, no. 1c (no location noted
  4. cf. p. 247)
  5. Alder Planetarium on-line database A-259
  6. cf. Bierens de Haan 4516 (1684 ed., not seen: see his Bouwstoffen II, pp. 386 & 429 note 5)
  7. E.O. van Keulen et al., "In de Gekroonde Lootsman," item 4 & illustration between pp. 64 & 65 (1680/1696 Vooght/Van Keulen ed.)
  8. not in BMC Printed Maps
  9. Zinner, Astron. Instrumente
  10. NCC/Picarta
  11. OCLC WorldCat.

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