Henricus Hondius


Artist Biography:

The Hondius family were one of the most notable in the great flowering of Dutch cartography at the turn of the 17th century. The father, Jodocus Hondius, was born in 1563 and he is noted for his work in association with many of the great cartographers and publishers of the time. Hondius grew up in Ghent, where he was apprenticed to an instrument and globe maker and engraver. He fled religious persecution in the Low Countries in 1584 to the safety of Queen Elizabeth’s London, but eventually settled in Amsterdam in 1593. Probably because of his time in London, he was chosen by John Speed to engrave the maps for his great atlas, The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britain, between 1605 and 1610. In 1604, Hondius bought the plates of the great Mercator’s atlas, which at the time was gradually being replaced as the cartographer’s bible by Abraham Ortelius’s Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. To bring the collection up to date, Hondius added about 40 new maps before re-publishing, still under Mercator’s name, with his own name added as publisher. This exceptionally famous series of atlases has become known as the Mercator/Hondius series. Jodocus Hondius died in 1612, but his business was carried on by his widow and his sons, Jodocus II and Henricus, and eventually in partnership with Jan Jansson in Amsterdam. In all, nearly 50 editions of the Mercator Hondius atlases were eventually published in a variety of languages. In publishing these editions, the early copies were issued by the widow of Jodocus Hondius the Elder and his two sons, but the five editions from 1623 to 1633 were published by Henricus alone and five further editions, between 1633 and 1641, were prepared for publication by Henricus in conjunction with Jan Jansson. Jodocus Hondius II lived from 1594 to 1626 and Henricus Hondius lived from 1587 to 1638.

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