Date: Sun, 8 Mar 1998
From: Joep de Koning [Batavier1@aol.com]
Subject: 1653 stand-alone engraved view of Nieuw Amsterdam

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New Amsterdam

See also the watermark
See also John Docktor's message.

I am a collector of 17th century views and maps of respectively New Amsterdam and New Netherland. I own a "stand-alone" engraving of Nieuw Amsterdam which is the widely known view on Nieuw Amsterdam of around 1653 and has only been found (and known) as an inset (flanked by indians) on the U.S. East coast maps of Visscher/Allardt/Danckers as well as on the 1675 map by John Seller called "A Mapp of New Jarsey"). The origin of my similar size, "stand-alone", not -flanked by indians, extremely high-quality, very sharp engraving has been a mystery. As a result, I would like to solicit the views of dealers, librarians, scholars, collectors, engravers and paper experts through Maphist as other methods to determine its origin have had no results thus far.

The engraving has large margins, yet no plate markets are visible. This may indicate that it was engraved on a much larger plate and subsequently cropped. It also has a watermark that appears cut in half where the paper was cut. Hence, the visible part is a half circle topped by the capital letter A. This could be part of a full circle (globe) of 11 centimeters in diameter carried by Atlas? The "A" could thus stand for Atlas or for Amsterdam or whatever. This particular watermark (or countermark) was not identified in the watermark books of Heawood and Churchill. The chain marks of the paper are 3 centimeters apart.

Thus far, I have not found any mention in any literature or elsewhere of a separately existing (stand-alone) view, independent from the maps, nor have I found any copies in achieves and libraries I have visited here and abroad. According to my detailed examination of the views in the three respective Dutch maps, I inferred that each view had been separately engraved because of minor differences in the existence or placing of lines, stones, windows, people, etc.. Thus, one may conclude that at least 3 separate engravings on copper plate had been made. It may however be possible that the view in the Seller map may also have been engraved separately (unless an old Dutch copper plate was used) or that in later "states" of any of these maps some inset views had been newly engraved again which, then, would mean that there may have been more engravings made of that particular inset view. Be that as it may, the fact is that the stand-alone view is engraved separately, indepen- dent from the 3 separately engraved inset views on the Dutch maps, so that now at least 4 separately engraved copies of that 1653 view can be identified with the 4th one being my independent/stand-alone (only known or existing?) view.

The question then is; where does this engraving come from? Was it made prior to the 1655 Visscher map, thus being the prototype view for the view as an insert to the Visscher map (the spelling of the words in the key are the same as in the 1655 Visscher map), or was it the prototype view for the Seller map or just a later engraved stand-alone facsimile, copied from the Visscher inset view and published (when?) in England or Holland for unknown purposes? If the latter, why was it separately engraved later (a lot of work) and disseminated as a stand-alone view outside the context of the maps , and how come there doesn't seem to be mention of a stand-alone view in any literature on New Netherland? It is hard to believe that if a copy were engraved later as part of e.g. a historical overview, that there would be no mention about this anywhere or that there wouldn't be many copies from that particularly engraved plate floating around the globe. In my view, the copy was not made later with the intent to deceive as it wouldn't make economic sense to do so.

I would be most interested in knowing who may be able to shed some further light on this.

Sincerely, Joep de Koning.


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