Van Keulen’s fine chart of New York and New England, with important “firsts”

Johannes van Keulen , Pas-Kaart Vande Zee Kusten van Niew Nederland Anders Genaamt Niew York…. Amsterdam, [1684/ca. 1702.]
Engraving, 20."h x 22.75"w plus margins, uncolored

Van Keulen’s important chart of the waters off New York and southern New England, much enhanced by its detailed treatment of coastal settlement and inset charts of the Hudson and Connecticut Rivers. 

The main chart depicts the coast from Rensselaer Hook in New Jersey to roughly the “elbow” of Cape Cod, with extensive soundings and notations of shoals and other hazards. Much detail is given for Long Island Sound, Narragansett Bay and the waters around Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. After Arent Roggeveen’s Pascaerte van Nieu Nederland (1675), this is only the second large-scale chart of the region.

Equally significant are the two insets, one showing the Hudson River from New York Bay to Albany and the other the Connecticut from southern Massachusetts to its outlet in Long Island Sound. Both represent the first printed charts of these rivers.

In addition to the extensive hydrographic data, the relatively large scale enables van Keulen to present a much fuller picture of settlements in the New Netherlands and New England than most earlier maps-far richer, for example, than that given by the maps of the Jansson-Visscher series. According to Stokes, “though the delineation of the coast-line is justly subject to criticism, the map is important because of the inclusion of many names not occurring on other maps” (Iconography, vol. II p. 159)

While the region had been portrayed on a number of previous, smaller-scale charts, van Keulen’s depiction is distinctive, and his sources are unknown. For example, while the curiously foreshortened Long Island echoes the depiction of Roggeveen, the two vary greatly in detail. Likewise, the depiction of southern Cape Cod and the Islands differs substantially from earlier attempts by Jansson and Visscher, Colom, Doncker and others. Presumably van Keulen made use of one or more manuscript sources, to which he presumably would have had ready access as a well-known map- and chart-maker practicing in Amsterdam.

This is an example of the fourth state, with a drapery frame around the title, a ruled border around the scale bars with a second plate number “20” added just above, and a decorative ship added to the south of Long Island. The chart appeared in the Zee Fakkel, published by the Amsterdam firm of van Keulen. The van Keulens produced and sold sea charts, pilot guides and nautical instruments for well over two centuries.

Burden, The Mapping of North America II, #587 state 4; McCorkle, New England in Early Printed Maps, #684.3; issue 2, “The Charting of New England,” #50; Stokes, Iconography of Manhattan Island, vol. II pp. 158-159 (ill. plate 57).


Some staining in margins, but image area excellent and would frame nicely