2009 Catalog, William R. Talbot Fine Art, Antique Maps & Prints Home

2009 Catalog > 7. Schenk, “Belgii Novi, Angliae Novae et partis Virginiae.”

“. . . a valuable source and as evocative a picture as any we have of North America between Jamestown and Quebec.”

—Tony Campbell

7. Petrus [Pieter/Petrum] Schenk & Gerhard [Gerardus/Gerardum] Valk, after Johannes Janssonius [Jansson]. “Belgii Novi, Angliae Novae et partis Virginiae,” third state (Amsterdam: c. 1694 [1651]), Latin text edition. Double-page copperplate engraving with superb original handcolor. 17 1/4 x 20 3/8" at neat line. Sheet: 20 1/8 x 24 1/8." Three decorative cartouches, uncolored as issued: title, dedication to Gualthero de Raet, scale. Slight marginal toning at edges; minor marginal chip at l.r., repaired; a few very minor accretions at l.r. margin. Excellent.


This important map of early America was compiled by Johannes Jansson and published originally in 1651. According to Burden, Jansson’s map

. . . must be ranked as one of the fundamental prototype maps of America in the seventeenth century. The model and nomenclature first laid out here were followed by later cartographers for over 100 years, and form part of the celebrated Janssonius-Visscher series of maps. . . . There is virtually no European settlement that is not recorded. . . .

The map shows New England, New France, New Belgium, New Amsterdam, and part of Virginia. Highly valued as a detailed record of seventeenth-century colonies in America, this map is also an important document of the Native American villages that remained at the time.

Jansson’s landmark regional map was created through the compilation of significant maps issued from a number of countries involved in American settlement. Sources included Adriaen Block, Dutch merchant and explorer; Joannes De Laet, Flemish geographer and director of the Dutch West India Company; John Smith, Admiral of New England; Samuel de Champlain, French explorer.

Ostensibly a Latin version, Jansson’s map reveals its diverse sources through place names. An area here named “Breukelen,” a Dutch term translated as “broken land,” would eventually become Brooklyn, a name that might also be understood as a combination of “brook” and the common English place-name suffix “lyn.” Two short-lived Swedish settlements on the Delaware River are shown—t’Fort Christina and t’Fort Elesenburgh. In the same area a settlement labeled “Finlant” probably indicates a Finnish presence as well. Imperfect knowledge of English settlements is revealed in the omission of Boston, already well established. An uncolonized area west of the Susquehanna River includes Mohican village scenes, providing a fascinating glimpse of its native culture. The seat of the powerful Powhatan confederacy in Virginia is indicated with a type symbol usually indicative of a major town.

Petrus Schenk and Gerard Valk began working together in Amsterdam around 1680 in the publication of books and art prints, which included portraits, views, and historical tableaus. After Schenk acquired the copperplates to the Hondius and Jansson Atlas Major in 1694, the company began to issue maps, atlases, and globes. As both a historical document and a work of art, the present map is a significant example from the Golden Age of Dutch Cartography.

Refs.: Philip D. Burden, The Mapping of North America (1996), p. 390-91; Tony Campbell in Tooley, The Mapping of America (1980), p. 279-80; Fite and Freeman, A Book of Old Maps (1926), no. 39; Tooley’s Dictionary of Mapmakers, pp. 118, 307.

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