Jan Jansson; 1588 - 1664.
Also known as Johannes Jansonius, Jan was born in
Arnhem in a publisher's family, he married the daughter of
famed cartographer Jodocus Hondius, and soon set up his own
book making business is Amsterdam. In partnership with his
brother-in-law (Henricus Hondius) he published reprints of
the Mercator atlases.
In appearance, Jansson's map are very similar to Blaeu's,
in good part since he recycled Mercator's plates acquired
by Blaeu from the Hondiuses; and also because he copied extensively
the production of his chief cartography rival.
After his death, quite a few of his plates were acquired by
Pieter Schenk and Gerald Valk, who continued printing them
- 1628: Atlas Minor (another remake of the 1607 Mercator's
- 1638: Atlas Novus, starting with only two volumes, grew
up to six volumes,
was re-edited till 1666.
- 1647: Atlas Major, produced in four different languages
This large map (19 9/16" X 15 ¼") was originally
designed for the1636 edition of the Mercator/Hondius/Jansson
It is directly derived from a 1634 J. Blaeu map (with the
same title), itself strongly inspired from a 1622 J. Speed
"The Kingdome of England" (itself quite similar to an earlier
The major difference with the Blaeu map being the addition
of two coats of arms: Ireland and Scotland.
The present item seems to have been printed for the 1646 volume
IV of a latin edition of the Atlas Novus.
Most of the place names and county lines are simply copied
from the Speed masterpiece and are very up to date.
But its single most interesting feature is of course the crests:
Ireland, Scotland. England,. and in the upper right corner:
Great Britain. In 1603 James VI of Scotland inherited the
Tudor throne of England and Ireland, of which he became king
under the name of James I. The two political entities remained
independent, they had their own parliament and flag. In an
effort to pull together these two, the notion of Great Britain
was created with a flag of the "united crowns" (the English
red cross of St George over the white Scott cross of St Andrew)
and the coat of arms of the two countries were combined: quarter
by quarter: England, Scotland, Ireland, England.
- Wales is not shown since it had been "absorbed" by England
long ago at the end of the XIII the century.
- England arms still show the three Lily flowers, pretense
of ruling France was not abandoned until 1801.
Latin text on verso.