The oldest View and the oldest Plan of New York, reproduced to the original format, in full-colour collotype, print format ca. 63x45 cm, limited edition of 500 numbered copies, in hand-made portfolio, with 64 page companion volume by Jan van Bracht and Prof. Gunther Schilder.
In 1667 Cosimo de Medici, ruler of Florence, undertook a journey to the Netherlands and England, His natural interest in the growth of international trade at this time was allied to a concern that Florence should play a more conventional objets d'art, he brought back with him from Amsterdam, then the centre of Dutch cartography, a series of manuscript maps and views of trading centres and settlements around the word - in Asia, Africa and the Americas. These products of an important school of Dutch cartographers were working documents, produced to order, to be used in the course of maritime ventures. Accordingly, relatively few of them have survived the ravages of time and tide.
The four surviving collections of these manuscripts all contain near identical views of various towns and settlements, but each collection contains some unique items not found in any of the others. Among these sole survivors is the plan of New York in the Castello Collection, which is now housed in the Biblioteca Laurenziana in Florence.
This, the oldest known map of the settlement at the tip of Manhattan Island, reproduces its appearance in about 1650, and at all events prior to 1664, in which year the “Stadt Amsterdam in Nieuw Neederlandt”, as the map is clearly entitled, came under British rule, and was renamed New York. The settlement is meticulously delineated, down to the details of individual houses, and the origins of such familiar name as Battery Park, Broadway and Wall Street are plainly revealed. The authorship of the map was previously uncertain, but it is now shown to have been the work of the Dutch cartographer Johannes Vingboons (1617-1670).
In one of the other surviving collections of Dutch seventeenth century cartography, in the Rijksarchief in The Hugue, is another unique document: a view of the settlement of Nieuw Amsterdam, seen from off the southern tip of Manhattan Island. This has long been known to be the work of Johannes Vingboons and is almost exactly contemporaneous with the map.
These two fundamental documents concerning the Origins of New York are now brought together again in a unique facsimile edition, realized with the permission of the Dutch and Italian governments. The map and the view are reproduced in full-colour collotype. This difficult and expensive printing process enable us to achieve absolutely faithful and accurate reproductions of the originals. The absence of a screen between camera and original ensures that even the finest details correspond exactly with the hand-drawn originals.
The map and the view are presented in a hand-made portfolio embossed with the coat-of-arms on Nieuw Amsterdam. They are accompanied by an authoritative account of the early settlement and mapping of the Dutch colony on Manhattan Island, by Professor Gunther Schilder of the University of Utrecht, and Mr. Jan van Bracht of the Rijksarchief, The Hauge.