Wrapped in a map

By AA, Pieter van der, 1710 

Catalogue des livres des cartes greographiques des villes tant en plan qu’en profil, et autres estampes ou tailes douces qui se trouvent.

  • Author: AA, Pieter van der
  • Publication place: Leiden
  • Publisher: Pieter vander Aa
  • Publication date: c1710
  • Physical description: Octavo. 21 leaves, bound in map wrappers.Collation: [P5-P8], Q8-S2.
  • Dimensions: 160 by 110mm. (6.25 by 4.25 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 17669


Bound in part of an eighteenth-century map of the Baltic, the present catalogue dates from about 1710, and lists the principle works offered and published by Aa. An advertisement at the beginning proudly proclaims the recent acquisition of many maps and plans from the heirs of Frederick de Wit, the prominent Amsterdam publisher whose widow, Maria, had sold their inventory at auction in 1710.

The first third of the catalogue lists the books published by Aa, with title, price and number of volumes. The next third is his map inventory, which he divides into wall maps on several sheets, and atlas maps on: double folio (double fueille), folio (une fueille), quarto (feuille median), common paper (papier commun), and half common papier (demi feuille commune). This is followed by an extensive list of town plans, profiles, and views, portraits of illustrious people, architecture, other prints, and the French edition of Blaeu’s Grande Atlas’ in twelve volumes. On the final page Aa writes:

Pour ne pas laisser cette place vide, j’ajoute ici un petit indicee de quelques beaux livres, qu’on trouve aussi dans la meme boutique”

[So as not to leave this place empty, I add here a small index of some beautiful books, which we also find in the same shop].

Pieter van der Aa (1659–1733) was a Dutch publisher and printer. He entered the booksellers guild in Leiden in 1677, and started his first business there in 1683. By 1694 he was made printer to Leiden University, and by 1715, he was appointed the official printer to the town. He was best known for his cartographic work, but also produced a range of pirated copies of foreign bestsellers. He had a distinctive and elegant style, and his works were highly sought after. In spite of the plagiaries, Aa sustained beneficial working relationships with foreign booksellers like Thomas Bennet in England, who helped him sell stock. He produced a series of atlases and collections of voyages composed of plates acquired from other cartographers. His career culminated with the publication of his illustrated atlas of the world, the​‘Galerie Agreable du Monde’, the largest book of prints ever published. The​‘Galerie’ did not just cover geography, but also included more than three thousand plates of native peoples, architecture and historical events from around the world, and was issued in an astonishing 66 parts. Most of the plates were by other contemporary publishers, to which van der Aa added his signature broad decorative borders. A complete copy of the​‘Galerie’ cost the equivalent of a master craftsman’s annual salary.

We are unable to trace any institutional examples of the present work. 

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