Lotter Novi Belgii


Tobias Conrad Lotter.  “Recens Edita totius Novi Belgii, in America Septentrionali siti delineatio cura et sumtibus Tob. Conr. Lotteri.”  Augsburg: T.C. Lotter, ca. 1757.  19 3/4 x 23.  Engraving.  Full hand color.  Very good condition.  Framed to museum standards.


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A nice example of one of the most decorative and desirable maps of northeastern United States.  This map, first issued by Matthias Seutter around 1730, is one in an important series of maps of the region beginning with Jan Jansson’s map of 1651.  Extending from the Chesapeake Bay to southern Maine, these maps depicted the area of British and Dutch settlements in the late seventeenth and eighteenth century.  Around 1655, Nicolas Visscher added a view of “Nieuw Amsterdam” to the Jansson prototype, showing the rising importance of New Amsterdam as a trading center for the Dutch.  Just a few years later, in 1664, New Amsterdam was taken by the English and renamed New York.  Then in 1673, the Dutch recaptured the city, only to lose it again back to the English a year later.  The view of New York, included in the lower right of the maps in the series after 1655, was modified after the “restitution” of the city by the Dutch and this image appeared on all subsequent maps, including this one.  Seutter updated his map by rendering a better image of the Hudson and Delaware Rivers, which had been poorly shown previously, as well as including for the first time printed indications of the borders of the colonies.  This particular state, was issued by Lotter after Seutter’s death in 1757, and it corrects the name of Boston from the previous “Briston.”  Thus, while some of the geographic information was anachronistic, Lotter did attempt to keep the map relatively up-to-date.

Besides its geographic interest, the map is a decorative gem as well.  The attractive original color sets off the rivers, forests and hills that are dispersed about the landscape.  Also scattered around the map are delightful vignettes of New World fauna, including deer, bear, fox, herons, beavers, rabbits and a turkey.  One of the main sources of income from the Dutch, Swedish, French, and English colonies was trade in fur, and so it these animalistic elements have an interesting historic import as well as their aesthetic function.  To the left are depicted two fortified Indian villages.  The wonderful view of “Neu Jorck sive New Amsterdam” is surrounded by Seutter’s elaborate cartouche, which was modified to show natives and gods presenting tribute to a European king (George II?).  Overall, this is a wonderful cartographic document from the early days of American settlement.