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Description found in Archives

Nova orbis tabula, in lucem edita A.F. De Wit. [cartographic material] 



Place of creation




1 map : ill., hand col.; 2 hemispheres each 27 cm in diam on sheet 53 x 62 cm.

Scope and content

De Wit's decorative world map in twin hemispheres with allegorical scenes in the corners.The marvellous scenes in the corners combine an allegorical representation of the four seasons, the elements and the signs of the Zodiac. Australia and New Zealand are charted to include the discoveries of Tasman from both his voyages in 1642-43 & 1644. Terra Australis Incognita is not charted and California is shown as an island.De Wit also illustrates two smaller hemispherical representations of the Arctic and Antarctic poles.

Cartographic material
90: Open
Original can be viewed in the presence o
f an early cartographic archivist. Microfiche version is open
Cartographic material
Microfiche NMC8233
90: Open
Item no. (creator)
Alexander E. MacDonald Canadiana Collection #49
Cartographic material
90: Open
90: Open
Archival reference no.
Other accession no.
80101/245 CA
Local class no.

Terms of use

Copyright expired.
Credit: Library and Archives Canada.

Biography / Administrative history

Engraver and map-seller, Frederick de Wit was born at Gouda in 1630 and was the son of Henrick Fredericksz de Wit. He was married to Maria van der Waag of Amsterdam. In 1661 he obtained his citizenship to the city of where he had been working since 1648. From here he became one of the most famous engravers of maps of the second half of the 17th century. The earliest dates on maps engraved by him are 1659 on the map Regni Daniae. He specialised in field atlases, wall maps and engravings. He personally created some 130 maps and 27 nautical charts. He made use of approximatley 250 copper plates of town plans mainly from the stocks of Bleau and Janssonius. He also sold world atlases, a marine atlas and a regional atlas of the Netherland and town atlases of the Netherlands and Europe.
De Wit died in 1706 and his widow continued to run his business until 1709. In the spring of 1710 the plates and stock of de Wit atlas were sold by the family to Covens & Mortier, another famous Dutch company. (Source: Koeman "Atlantes Neerlandici, vol. 3) (Source: von Egmond "Covens & Mortier A Map Publishing House in Amsterdam, 1685-1866)

Additional information

Illus: North and south polar projections of Arctic and Antarctic regions; each 13.2 diam.

A very interesting and extremely decorative map probably first published c. 1680 in a De Wit atlas. The maps themselves show nothing remarkable with the exception of the "island" of California and the curious configuration given to Hudson's Bay. The map was later republished after 1689 with certain revisions such as the adding of a privilege secured by De Wit in 1689, and the new presence of Nova Guinea on the western sphere.

Pictoral relief.

Copperplate engraving.

Illus: North and south polar projections of Arctic and Antarctic regions; each 13.2 diam.

Appears to be first edition, second state based on cherubs appearing in the cusps between the hemispheres and an addition of the outer border. California is also depicted as a island with a flat top instead of a pointed tip.

Custodial history
Part of the Alexander E. MacDonald Canadiana Collection purchased by the Public Archives of Canada in 1981.

Related materials
For other states and editions see: MIKAN no. 4140538 (NMC 25957) ; G1015 .W57 1689 - fol./Vault (AMICUS No. 26305839)

Cartographic math data
Scale indeterminate (W 180°--E 180°/N 90°--S 90°)

Citation / reference note
Shirley, Entry 451
Shirley, Entry 499
Koeman, v. 3, Entry Wit 1

Availability of other formats note
The microfiche version is NMC8233

Subject heading

1. World - Maps - Early works to 1800.


Other system control no.