Title: Caricta Borealis.
Mapmaker: Blaeu, Joan. Date: 1654.
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Text description of Carrick
Blaeu was the son of Willem Janszoon Blaeu and lived from 1596 to 1673.
Willem Blaeu, after training under the well-known Danish astronomer
Tycho Brahe, founded the Blaeu family enterprise in Amsterdam in 1599,
starting with globes and instruments and then diversifying rapidly into
maps and atlases. Willem Blaeu died in 1638 and the business passed to
his sons Joan and Cornelius. After Cornelius's early death in 1642, it
fell upon Joan alone to complete Willem's ambitious plans for an atlas
of the world. After the completion of the Atlas Novus or Theatrum Orbis
Terrarum, Joan started work on an even larger atlas. The Atlas Major was
completed in 1662 and included 600 double page maps and over 3,000 pages
of the text. This work was the most expensive book of the 17th century
(45,000 florins) and is considered by many the most magnificent of all
atlases of any period. Unfortunately a fire destroyed the family
printing house in 1672 and Joan died only a year later. The maps
produced by the Blaeu family from 1604 to 1672 are amongst the most
prized and valued of all of the maps of the 17th century. They combine
great artistry with geographic accuracy and cartographic innovation.
Indeed some map collectors consider that the maps of Joan Blaeu are the
finest published anywhere in the 17th century.
This map is
one of the first published maps (i.e., non-manuscript map) of this part
of Scotland. It is based primarily on the work of
Timothy Pont. Timothy
Pont, a minister, was the pioneer Scottish cartographer. From 1583 on,
he surveyed the whole of the Scottish mainland and islands, apparently
by himself. Unfortunately, he found no patron to publish his maps and
his manuscript maps remained unpublished for many years (his map of
Lothian and Linlithglow was used in the 1630 Mercator/Hondius atlas). In
the mid-1600s, Robert and James Gordon, also early Scottish
cartographers, revised and edited the manuscript maps of Pont. Just how
much new information they contributed is still the matter of some
debate. Joan Blaeu used the manuscript maps of Pont and the Gordons as
the basis for the Pars Quinta of his Theatrum Orbis Terrarum first
published in 1654. This volume of the Theatrum, the famous Blaeu world
atlas, consisted of 55 maps of Scotland and Ireland, including 46
detailed maps of specific regions of Scotland. This was the very first
atlas of Scotland and the maps the first detailed maps of most areas of
Scotland published. There were some earlier published maps of Scotland
(e.g., in the atlases of Ortelius, Mercator, Hondius, Jansson and
others) but these are typically single maps of larger areas (with the
exception of the single map of Pont mentioned earlier).
maps of Scotland are relatively scarce. All of the Blaeu maps can be
considered scarce, because of their age and the limited numbers
originally produced. The Scotland maps were particularly few in numbers.
The maps of Scotland were only produced between 1654, the date of their
first printing, and 1672, the year of the fire that destroyed the Blaeu
printing house. This is a much shorter period of time than for most of
the other Blaeu maps. This is one the first detailed maps of this part
of Scotland ever published, making it cartographically significant. This
is particularly true of this map since this appears to be a copy of the
first edition map put out in 1654.
Like all of
the early maps of Scotland this map has many place names and localities
shown that are important outside of Scotland. Scottish people were among
the early settlers in Canada and the United States and many Scottish
names have been used for naming localities in North America. Many of the
names also have strong recognition for many people because of historic
or cultural associations. Maps that have such connections are often more