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    Sale 7745

    Important European Furniture, Sculpture & Clocks

    9 July 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 94

    A LARGE PAIR OF DUTCH 26 IN. (68 CM.) LIBRARY GLOBES

    WILLEM JANSZOON BLAEU (1571-1638), AMSTERDAM, THE TERRESTRIAL CIRCA 1630-45, THE CELESTIAL CIRCA 1630

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A LARGE PAIR OF DUTCH 26 IN. (68 CM.) LIBRARY GLOBES
    WILLEM JANSZOON BLAEU (1571-1638), AMSTERDAM, THE TERRESTRIAL CIRCA 1630-45, THE CELESTIAL CIRCA 1630
    The terrestrial bearing four cartouches, three in the Southern hemisphere, the Advice to the Reader signed Guiljelmus Blaeu and dated 1622, the dedication to the States General and Prince Maurice of Nassau, as called for by van der Krogt (state 3), engraved brass meridian, and paper horizon ring; the celestial with axis through the celestial pole, the address to the reader headed by portrait of Tycho Brahe, made out for the year 1640 and signed Guiljelmus Blaeuw (van der Krogt sate 3), engraved brass meridian with hour dial and original hand-pointer, paper horizon ring; the matching contemporary oak and walnut stands with cup-and-balluster legs joined by cross-stretchers with moulded platforms, centred by the supports for the globes and concealing castors, one triangular, the other circular
    40½ in. (103 cm.) high; 35 in. (89 cm.) diameter [overall] (2)


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    Willem Janszoon Blaeu (1571-1638) is regarded as the father of modern western globe-making. Not only did his firm start globe production as a viable commercial enterprise, the globes from his forty-year career are amongst the very finest and most beautiful ever published.

    Over the winter of 1595/6 Blaeu stayed with the renowned Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe (1546-1601) at his observatory in Urienborg. Brahe (whose portrait crowns the cartouche to the celestial globe) was the leading astronomer of his day and the first in the West to produce an entirely new star catalogue since Ptolemy. Brahe was completing his star catalogue at the time of Blaeu's stay and on his return to Alkmaar, Blaeu made for Adriaan Anthonisz a 34 cm. diameter celestial globe, based on Brahe's as yet unpublished information.

    In 1598/9 Blaeu settled in Amsterdam. It was here that he established his hugely successful publishing company which, throughout the course of the 17th century, would issue not only globes but maps, books, atlases and planetaria. Blaeu's 68 cm. globes were made in response to the 53 cm. pair issued by the Hondius firm in 1613. Their preparation was announced in 1614, and when finished in 1616 were presented to the States General, who awarded an honorarium of 50 guilders. They would remain the largest globes in production for over 70 years, until Vincenzo Maria Coronelli (1650-1717) issued his 110 cm. pair in 1688. They would go on to be republished three times during the 17th century, and incorporate important discoveries from the voyages of LeMaire, Button, Baffin, amongst others. Most of these additions were not worked into Blaeu's smaller globes: an indication that he considered this large pair his most important work. As van der Krogt states "[t]his globe pair confirmed Blaeu's reputation as the greatest globe manufacturer in the world".

    The current pair was aquired by the 9th Earl of Northumberland, Henry Percy (1564-1632), often referred to as the 'wizard earl' for his patronage of natural philosophers and keen interest in matters alchemical and astronomical. His interest in cartography is well documented, and he took a Molyneux globe of 1592 with him to the Tower (it still survives at Petworth House). Wallis in Geographical Journal, vol.12, p.310, suggests the pair were acquired in 1622: the date is probably taken from the advice to the reader cartouche on the terrestrial. Van der Krogt (1993) gives publishing dates of c.1630-45 suggesting they were acquired towards the end of Northumberland's life. Being the third state of Blaeu's terrestrial the current example is of much greater scarcity than the final state printed in 1645/8 and after Blaeu's death (such as the Liechtenstein pair sold at Christie's, Amsterdam Tuesday 1 April 2008, EUR 793,850); van der Krogt records only 14 examples of this third state.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Provenance

    Acquired by Henry Percy, 9th Earl of Northumberland (1564-1632) in circa 1630-32. Thence by descent at Petworth House, Sussex, until acquired from Lord Egremont in 1968.
    Sold Christie's, London, 12 December 1985, lot 134 to the present owner.


    Pre-Lot Text

    THE PROPERTY OF JAIME ORTIZ-PATINO
    (LOTS 53 AND 93-94)


    Literature

    P. van der Krogt, Globi Neerlandici: The production of globes in the Low Countries, Utrecht, 1993, BLA V.123, p. 522.
    T. Campbell, 'A Descriptive Census of Willem Blaeu's Sixty-Eight Centimetre Globes' Imago Mundi, vol. 28, 1976, pp.21-50. no. 16.