Copper engraving, 38.5 x 50 cm, modern hand-colour, map of Leinster oriented with west at the top of the map, German text on verso.
In the 1630s Janssonius abandoned the system of subdividing Ireland into regions which he had inherited from Mercator and commissioned new maps of the four provinces, presumably influenced by the maps in John Speed’s ‘Theatre’ (and in advance of a similar set of maps made by his Dutch rival Blaeu). Janssonius has not slavishly copied Speed, however: Speed’s Leinster is on a conventional north-south orientation, but in choosing an east-west alignment for his map Janssonius has given himself much more space for Leinster’s long coastline.
Joannes Janssonius II (1588-1664) married into the Hondius family and, with Henricus Hondius, worked on a revised edition of the Mercator-Hondius atlas (which was known as the Atlas Novus from 1638 onwards). The Hondius-Janssonius map publishing business traced its roots back to Gerardus Mercator. Mercator coined the term ‘atlas’ (after the wise, mythical, Mauritanian king rather than the weary titan) and the original Mercator Atlas (published in parts between 1585 and 1595) was an enormous advance in scientific terms: like Abraham Ortelius, Mercator edited his maps from the best available sources, but he advanced a step further and mapped the world on a standard projection. However, the Atlas was not an immediate commercial success; the copper printing plates were purchased by Jodocus Hondius c. 1604, and a large number of maps were added for his first edition of 1606, which still traded on Mercator’s name. His son-in-law Janssonius took over the business in the mid 1630s. He began to erase Hondius’ name and replace it with his own at this time, and eventually expanded the atlas to create an Atlas major which rivalled Blaeu’s. Koeman, Atlantes Neerlandici, Me 120