Very decorative engraving with later hand-coloring heightened with gold for Joan Blaeu's “NOVVUS ATLAS...”. Published in Amsterdam, c. 1642.
This colorful title page depicts an elaborate Spanish royal coat-of-arms at the top, surmounted by a cross and orb, and resting between two pillars . Surrounding the title are four female allegorical figures representing the known continents (Europe, Asia, Africa and America).
“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).