Celestial and terrestrial globe, Gerard and Leonard Valk, dated 1700

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Gerard en Leonard Valk
Dated 1700
Paper, bronze, Ebonised pear wood, oak, plaster
46 cm
31 cm

P. van der Krogt, Globi Neerlandici, The production of globes in the Low Countries, Utrecht 1993, pp. 299 - 329, 550 - 555.

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These exceptional and rare globes in the original chair of oak and ebonised pear wood with a meridian circle are both dated 1700 on the cartouche. The terrestrial globe is signed Gerard Valk on the cartouche and the celestial globe is made by Gerard and Leonard Valk. Father and son Valk were among the most successful globe-makers of the eighteenth century, due to both the refined engravings and their cooperation with scientists and astronomers, which enabled their globes to reflect the most modern discoveries. The globes have a diameter of 31 cm, with coloured engravings on paper consisting of twelve gores, and based on the cartouches and the depicted areas and constellations they can be categorised according to Peter van der Krogt's classification as VAL II, T1 and VAL II, C2. The scale is 1 on 410000.

The celestial globe is based on the celestial maps from Johannes Hevelius' Uranographia, published in 1690. The graphic style of the constellations, depicted as mythical creatures and animals, was copied from this atlas by Hevelius, with engravings by Carolus de La Haye, who followed the example of Andreas Stech. The constellations are indicated in Latin, and the gilt dotted stars are divided into six sizes, as noted on the small inscription between the constellation Pavo and Corona Australis. The central cartouche with title on the celestial globe reads:  

‘Uranographia Coelum omne hic Complectens Illa pro ut aucta et ad annum 1700 Competum MAGNO ab HEVELIO correcta est; ita, ejus ex Protoypis, sua noviter haec Ectypa veris Astronomiae cultoribus exhibet et consecrat GER. et LEON. VALK. Amstelaedamensis. Cum Privilegio.’  

(Uranographia, comprimising the whole sky, as it was augmented and corrected for the year 1700 by the great Hevelius. Thus, from their protoypes Gerardus and Leonard Valk of Amsterdam offer and dedicate these new engravings to true devotees of astronomy. Under charter.)  

A second cartouche contains advice for the reader:  

‘MONITUM, Novis hisce Sphaeris, Novissimus, Ex praescriptione Lotharii Zum-Bach Med: Doct. Unus, et alter additus Horizon: Quorum Is, qui huic Caelesti singularis, Praeter Commu es atque Bissextilem, Ut exactior Luminarium indagetur Locus Ad Meridianum Amstelodamens., Plus, quam per Ducentos Annos, Suis Mensium Diebus Appositas Lunae Syzygias, Medio Tempore Medias, Ingeniosâ Methodô et eruit, et exhibet.’  

(Notice. To these new globes are added one very new horizon from the instructions of Lotharius Zumbach, Doctor of Medicine, and another one. So as to determine a more exact position of the constellations one of these, the one for the celestial globe, elicits and displays the middle syzygies of the moon for more than 200 years, except for the common and bissetile years, arranged with their days of the months by an ingenious method at the meridian of Amsterdam in the middle time.)  

The earth globe has a, for that time, very modern map, without redundant decorations such as ships and sea monsters. Characteristic of Valk's globes is the detailed network of meridians and parallels. Some cities are marked with gilding. The earth globe, dated 1750 on the copper plate, is based on Jacques Cassini's world map of 1696, supplemented by contemporary discoveries such as the filling in of the coast of Siberia. The map gives a good impression of the knowledge available at that time; for example, there is a large area between America and Asia, referred to as 'Terra Incognita Sive Terra Esonis', Papua New Guinea and Australia are connected, California is shown as an island to the west of America, the north coast of Canada is not filled in, the Antarctic is missing and the coast of Australia is still largely unknown. Also, the Caspian Sea, which is shown as a vast lake on later globes by Valk, is here square in shape. The central cartouche with title reads:

‘Cosmotheore, Coelesti nostro Globo, Par; et plane Novus, Hic Terrestris ut existeret; Certo scias; Errore Veterum Sublato: Non tantum Utriusque Orbis Longitudines ac Latitudines, Per reiteratas Neotericorum Observationes, Hicce esse restitutas; Sed et nullum typis Emendatiorem prodiisse, Hoc igitur Novissimo tam diu fruere, Donec, sub Majori forma, Meo aere Alios excudam Gerardus Valck Calcographus Amstelaedami, Anno 1700, Cum privilegio.’

(Cosmotheore, you may be sure that this terrestrial globe is equal to our celestial one, and is completely new and that after removing the errors of the ancients, not only on the longitudes and latitudes of both worlds have been put right according to the repeated observation of modern scholars, but in addition, that there is no more correct version published. Therefore, delight in this newest version, until I engrave with my copper others in a large size. Gerard Valk, engraver, Amsterdam, 1700, with charter.)  

On the horizon of both globes is an elaborate calendar by the Polish scholar Lothar Zumbach de Coesfelt. This calendar consists of four calendars; three for the ordinary years and one for the leap year. On the horizon of the celestial globe, Zumbach de Coesfelt shows the position of the new moon for the meridian of Amsterdam instead of the saints' days. The chairs are made of ebonised pearwood and oak, the globe rests on a round turned base with four baluster-shaped columns, on ball feet.  

Gerard Valk (1652 - 1726) and his son Leonard (-- 1746) are among the most important Amsterdam globemakers of the 18th century, with almost a complete monopoly on the market in the first half of the 18th century. Valk, initially an engraver and art dealer, established the firm in Amsterdam in 1687 and in 1700 moved to the shop where Jodocus Hondius, a maker of maps and globes, had previously been located. In 1701 Gerard applied for a licence to make globes and the Planetolabium, designed by Lotharius Zumbach de Coesfelt, lecturer in astronomy at the University of Leiden. The Valks produced several editions of earth and sky globes. Around 1711, Leonard Valk joined the business and his name appeared alongside that of his father on the cartouches of the globes. Leonard took over the business after his father's death in 1726, and after his own death in 1746 the firm was led by Maria Valk, niece and wife of Gerard and sister of Petrus.    


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