M-13595: (Image: 16 x 9 ¼ '') Dramatic engraving with original hand-coloring heightened with gold for Joan Blaeu's “LE THEATRE DU MONDE...”.
Published in Amsterdam, c. 1645. Reference: Shirley The Art of the Decorative Cartographic Titlepage, #46A – illustrated.
This colorful title page's central figure is that of Britannus, the indigenous ancient Briton. Soldiers representing the Saxons, Romans, Normans and Danes fill the architectural niches surrounding the title. A large coat of arms, flanked by England's fierce lion and the Welsh griffin dominate the top of the sheet.
“An integral part of map collecting is the study of frontispieces and title pages of atlases. They are usually very elaborate affairs, engraved by the finest craftsmen available, not only announcing the title of the volume, but enticing the viewer to look further into the pages...” (R. B. Williams; Investing in Maps; p.147-9). “It is important that what was once the first and most important display leaf in a valuable work should be treasured…” (Rodney W. Shirley, The Map Collector, #46 p. 17).