2 WITSEN, N./ On Dutch ship building /Virtual Book Fair 106


Description: The most authoritative standard work on Dutch ship building
WITSEN, Nicolaas.
Aeloude en hedendaegsche scheeps-bouw en bestier: waer in wijtloopigh wert verhandelt, de wijze van scheeps-timmeren, by Grieken en Romeynen: scheeps-oeffeningen, strijden, tucht, straffe, wetten en gewoonten. Beneffens evenmatige grootheden van schepen onses tijts, ontleet in alle hare deelen:

Amsterdam, Gaspar Commelin, Broer and Jan Appelaer [printed by Christoffel Cunradus], 1671. Folio. Contemporary red morocco, richly gold-tooled spine, gold-tooled sides, marbled endpapers, gilt edges. With etched frontispiece by Romeyn de Hooghe, title-page in red and black, and 114 engraved plates by 'P.L.' after the drawings by Witsen (numbered I-CIX and A-E: 1 double-page and 8 on slips of a half-page or smaller). [12], 516, 40, [5], [1 blank] pp.

First edition of the first, most authoritative and important book on ship building of the 17th century, by Nicolaas Witsen (1641-1717), a Dutch diplomat, cartographer, burgomaster of Amsterdam and director of the VOC. Several variants have been noted, but most are merely press variants and have no bearing on the order of issue of copies of the book. In the present copy, for example, leaf 2F2 is erroneously signed as 2E2. The red parts of the title-page appear to have been printed in a separate pass through the press. In the present copy the red and black are correctly aligned, but in some copies the red is a millimetre too low. In the present copy, about half the plates are numbered in the plate and the others in letterpress. There was a later issue, which can be seen on Google Books: probably soon after the Dutch Stadholder William of Orange became King William III of England in 1689, leaves 3O1-3 were cancelled and replaced with a single newly set and printed bifolium (paginated 473-4, 477-8, with the first leaf unsigned and the second signed as 3O3). The text about the Dutch defeat of an English fleet in 1666 on the original pages 474-477 is omitted and a half sentence added on the new page 474. Our copy includes the longer original text, omitted in the later issue.
Corners of binding slighlty bumped, the lower also slightly worn; occasional waterstaining in lower right corner. Very good copy of a classic of ship building.
Bierens de Haan 5368; Bruzelius, pp. 12-13; Cat. NHSM, p. 743; Landwehr, De Hooghe Book Illustrator 16 (112 plates only); Verkruijsse, Romeyn de Hooghe 1671.21.
  • Number: 1060204 (A33ARQM2YSVF)
  • Dealer: Speculum Orbis Nauticum