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2002 articles 1985 articles

Terra incognita: the Beudeker Collection in the map library of the British Library

Anna E. C. Simoni

Abstract

The name 'Beudeker Collection' or 'Beudeker Atlas' commemorates the eighteenthcentury Dutchman who compiled these twenty-four large folio volumes, bound in gold-tooled white vellum, placed at Maps C.9.d.1-11, e.1-13. Each volume contains an average of a hundred to a hundred and fifty leaves, on to and between which large single or several smaller prints have been mounted, and into which some complete books and extracts from others have been inserted in a carefully designed sequence. The whole forms a comprehensive display of the Low Countries, comprising the United Provinces (roughly equivalent to the modern Netherlands), the Spanish/Austrian Netherlands (roughly equivalent to modern Belgium plus French Flanders), and Luxembourg, from their earliest beginnings up to the compiler's own time, with additions by later owners right into the nineteenth century. Both topographical and historical material is used, whether factual, allegorical, heraldic, or in any combination of these, enlivened with portraits of important inhabitants of individual localities, pictures of archaeological finds, of a scientific instrument here, a typical or unusual industry there. A long series of Dutch political and religious dignitaries concludes the set.

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