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Romeyn de Hooghe's magnificent map of the Mediterranean

Title
Carte nouvelle de la mer Mediterranee ou sont exactement remarques tous les ports, golfes, rochers, bancs de sable &c: a l'usage des armees du Roy de la Grande Bretagne. Dresse sur les memoires les plus nouveaux par le Sr Romain de Hooge.
Author
HOOGHE, Romeyn de
Publisher
Chez Pierre Mortier avec privilege
Publication place
Amsterdam,
Publication date
1694
Dimensions
600 by 1440mm. (23.5 by 56.75 inches).
Price
£25,000
Reference
2341

Description

Engraved and etched panoramic chart, 3 sheets joined. Fine hand-colour in full.

Notes

Fine example of Romeyn de Hooghe's map of the Mediterranean, embellished with 38 inset maps and views of the major ports and harbours of the Mediterranean.

This rare early edition of de Hooghe's (1645-1708) monumental chart of the Mediterranean Sea includes numerous galleons and galleys, with allegorical figures and sea monsters embellishing the insets. The chart appeared in a special section of Mortier's Neptune François, separately titled Cartes Marines a l'Usage des Armées du Roy de la Grande Bretagne. The nine charts in this section, all engraved by de Hooghe himself, are described by Koeman as the "most spectacular type of maritime cartography ever produced in seventeenth century Amsterdam". The chart of the Mediterranean is the largest and most intricately decorated of the nine.

Mortier's motive in the production of this atlas was to flatter William III, the Dutch king on the British throne since the Glorious Revolution of 1688, to whom it is dedicated. The unprecedented size of the atlas and the use of artists such as de Hooghe made this work one of the most lavish of the period: Koeman calls it the "most expensive sea atlas" of the period, "intended more as a show-piece than something to be used by the pilots as sea".

Romeyn de Hooghe was born in Amsterdam and worked there until c1680-1682, when he moved to Haarlem. "For several Netherlandish provinces, he created interior architectural paintings and other works. In 1662 De Hooghe was invited by Adam Frans van der Meulen (1632-1690) to Paris, where he etched the baptism of the Dauphin in 1668. There he met King Jan III Sobieski of Poland and was knighted by him in 1675".

De Hooghe "painted, engraved, sculpted, designed medals, enameled, taught drawing school, and bought and sold art as a dealer. During the 1690s he made sculptures for the palace of Het Loo (1689-1692), designed and etched triumphal arches and medals for William III's entry into the Hague (1691), and designed the Haarlem market festival decorations for the peace celebration after the capture of Naumur (1695). His political, legal, and economic interests are evident in his writings: Schouburgh der Nederlandsche Veranderingen (1674), Æsopus in Europa (1701), Spiegel van Staat des Vereenigde Nederlanden (1706), and Hieroglyphica of Merkbeelden der oude Volkeren (1735), all of which he also illustrated. He was well-educated and may have attended law classes at a university in Harderwijk or Leiden".

De Hooghe's "earliest print, after Nicolas Berchem, was made around 1662. He created about 3500 images, most after his own designs, some after other artists, for himself and other authors, publishers, and printers. His plates were often retouched and adapted for later events, sometimes by De Hooghe, sometimes by others. He etched allegories and mythological scenes, portraits, caricatures, political satires, historical subjects, landscapes, topographical views (especially of Netherlandish cities), battle scenes, genre scenes, title pages, and book illustrations. From 1667-1691 he illustrated various newspapers: Hollandsche Mercurius, Princelycke almana, Orangien Wonderspiegel".

"The first political iconographer of the Netherlands and its first great caricaturist, De Hooghe was closely associated with William of Orange. He repeatedly caricatured James II and Louis XIV, sometimes using pseudonyms on his most audacious images. He was an expressive master of physiognomy; and his original, lively style displayed the baroque fashion for spectacular and allegorical fantasy. Romeyn de Hooghe was the most significant and prolific Netherlandish engraver in the second half of the seventeenth century" (Anne-Marie Schaaf, The Getty Research Institute, Research Library).

Bibliography

Robert Putman, Early Sea Charts (New York: Abbeville Press, 1983), pp. 22-3, pl.7; Peter Whitfield, The Charting of the Oceans: Ten Centuries of Maritime Maps (British Library, 1996), pp. 86-7; Koeman IV; Tony Campbell, Early Maps (New York: Abbeville Press, 1981), pp. 96-7.