Both plates are from Nouveau Theatre D’Italie, a four-volume set of topographical views and maps of Italy, originally engraved by the great 17th-century Dutch mapmaker Joan Blaeu, and expanded and published in the early 18th century by Pierre Mortier, one of the successors to Blaeu. A later edition was published by Rutgert Christoffel Alberts in The Hague in 1724.
The Blaeu family of cartographers, founded by Willem Janszoon Blaeu (1571-1638) in about 1604, became the largest printer in 17th century Europe and the leading cartographic publisher during the golden age of Dutch map making. After his death in 1638, the firm continued under the direction of his sons Cornelis (d. 1642) and Joan (1596-1673) until a fire destroyed the business in 1672. Read more about the Blaeu Family in our Guide to Globe Makers.
Pierre Mortier (1661-1711), a Frenchman, established a publishing house in Amsterdam by around 1685 and published or reissued maps by some of the great French and Dutch mapmakers of the late 17th and early 18th centuries, including Guillaume de L’Isle, Carel Allard, Jan Jansson and Joan Blaeu. After Mortier’s death in 1711, the family continued the business and later joined with Johannes Covens to form the firm Covens and Mortier, which also continued to publish Mortier’s maps and prints.
Vesuvius additional inscriptions: A Amsterdam Par P. Mortier Avec Privil. A. Vorago qua anno MDCXXX arsit B. Ignis ex alto instar aquae profluens. (Also marked “9” and “bg” lower left.) C. Torre del Greco, cineribus Copertus. D. La Nunciata tota etiam tecta cineribus. E. 2 Triremes quibus populus superstes sabratus. F. Pons la Nunciata dictus. G. Suburbium urbis Neapolis. H. Vorago que tempore Plinii arsit. I. Fumus ex calidis aqua et igni profluentibus. K. Monte Nivosi versus Apuham. L. Vineae Morti Aurantionum, Citronum, etc.
[At Amsterdam by P. Mortier with Privileges.
A. Pit that burned in the year 1630.
B. Fire from the sea, like running water.
C. Greek Tower, overwhelmed by ashes.
D. Said to be entirely covered with ashes.
E. 2 people survive Gallies Sabratha.
F. Said to be a bridge.
G. Suburb of the city of Naples.
H. Pit at the time of Pliny, which glowed.
I. The steam from the hot water flowing forth, and with fire.
K. Mountain snow line Apuham.
L. Dead Orchards, Vineyards, Citrus Groves, etc.]
Lacus Avernus additional inscriptions: Derriere ces Montagnes on void les restes de Capoul. Post Bosco Montes olim fuit Capua, cujus nunc panca apparent restigia. Hic antri Sibylla Cumanae introitus. Hic olim fuere Tripergole nunc mons novus, Anno 1538, terrae motu congestus, omnia tegit. Se vend A Amsterdam Chez Pierre Mortier Avec Privilege.
[Behind these mountains one sees the rest of Capua. After Bosco Mountains formerly was Capua… Cave entrance of Cumaean Sibyl. Here was once the village of Tripergole, now known as Monte Nuovo. In the year 1538, an earthquake entirely covered it. Sold at Amsterdam at Pierre Mortier with privileges.]
Condition: Each generally very good with the usual overall light toning, wear, soft creases. Vertical center fold, as issued. Later color with some age nonetheless. Wide margins.
Fleet, Christopher. “Joan Blaeu.” Pont Maps Biographies. National Library of Scotland. 2000. http://www.nls.uk/pont/bio/blaeu.html (17 September 2002).
Potter, Jonathan. Collecting Antique Maps: An Introduction to the History of Cartography. London: Jonathan Potter Ltd., 1988, rev. 1999. pp. 56, 102.
Tooley, R.V. Maps and Map-Makers. 4th Ed. New York: Bonanza Books, 1970. pp. 33-34.