A superb atlas of the world began publication in Amsterdam in 1645 - the Theatrum orbis terrarum.
The printer was Jon Blaeu (1599-1673). His father, Willem Blaeu, had also been a printer and his son specialised in the printing of maps. Until the late 1620s the market was dominated by the Mercator maps, printed by Jodocus Hondius, but there was growing competition to publish sea charts and pilot books. On Hondius’s death in 1629 Blaeu seized the opportunity to produce a world atlas and the result was the most expensive book money could buy in the late 17th century. It was aimed at the wealthy, with its fine engravings of about 600 maps and its bright colours. Blaeu’s press became the largest in Europe.
Although this atlas, in 4 volumes printed from 1645 to 1650, is in the Hurd Library Bishop Hurd did not live to receive it, but he may have admired it in the home of its donor, Charles Shipley, the generous rector of nearby Grimley, who gave him several very fine books. He gave this one in 1820.
Shipley had picked it up second hand somewhere - it had belonged previously to a Mr Jones.
Shipley’s use of it is indicated by loose notes, undisturbed for nearly 200 years, which he left inside.
The volume dealing with England has a map of London:
and an engraving showing the clothing of the time:
I cannot resist diverting from my subject for a moment to show this image from a map of Africa:
The elephant’s child, long before Kipling immortalised him. But, returning to Hartlebury, here is part of the map of Worcestershire:
And here is the place we all care about so much, over 100 years before Bishop Hurd saw it and built his library on to the back:
Christine Penney, Hurd Librarian