A to Zee guide to the maritime world

An ‘Oost-Indies’ chart after Claes Janszoon Voght from an exceptionally large and fine example of the great Zee Atlas of Johannes van Keulen sold for £320,000 at Christie’s.

A complete set of the Metellus ‘Speculum orbis terrae’ publications that featured in ATG No 2399 was not the only lot to record a six-figure result in the June 5, King Street sale of the Mopelia collection of atlases and travel books.

Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | Ian McKay

Other high spots in that Christie’s (25/20/13.5% buyer’s premium) auction included, at a much higher than predicted £320,000, an example of what some regard as the greatest 17th century Dutch maritime atlas: the Zee Atlas. It was one produced by Johannes van Keulen of Amsterdam to display charts made by Claes Janszoon Voght.

The 1680 first edition contained only 36 charts but this was a work that was progressively enlarged over the years. The copy of 1688 in the Mopelia sale presented an extraordinary complement of 133 double-page charts after Voght, along with a world map and a celestial chart.

All the maps in this set were finely coloured and gold heightened – like the splendid ‘Oost-Indies’ chart illustrated above.

Sold at £110,000 was a hand-coloured, 1833-39 first edition of Cyrille PT Laplace’s Voyage autour de monde par les mers de l’Inde et de Chine…, complete with all plates and charts, the majority of them coloured.

In Russian service

‘Danse des femmes dans les Îles Sandwich’, a plate from the Choris Voyage autour de Monde… sold at Christie’s for £95,000.

At the five-figure level, a fully coloured copy in a contemporary French binding of the 1822-23, first complete edition of Louis Choris’ Voyage Pittoresque Autour de Monde… sold for £95,000.

Initially published in 22 parts, or livraisons, it derives from a voyage of 1815-18 made in the service of the Imperial Russian Navy by Otto von Kotzebue. Described as a fundamental work on Alaska, California and the Hawaiian Islands, this work by the expedition artist contains more plates on those locations than any other of the period.

Kamchatka, the Philippines, Chile and Easter Island also feature among the 104 coloured litho plates after paintings by Choris that illustrate the work and the accompanying text of JB Eyries.

Another copy of the Choris work, once in the Imperial Public Library in St Petersburg, made $70,000 (£55,120) at Christie’s New York on December 4.