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Isaac Vossius maps collection

Identifier: ubl285

Scope and Contents

The cartographic works and maps in Isaac Vossius' collection consists of 188 loose map sheets, 24 printed atlases and 4 manuscript volumes. Based on the numbering on the back of the loose maps, three, incomplete sets of maps can be distinguished. The maps all date from the middle of the sixteenth century and most of them are printed in Venice and Rome. The first two sets can be considered as so-called 'IATO atlases' (Italian atlas assembled to order), also named 'Lafreri-atlases' after the Roman printer-publisher who was the first who sold maps bound together as a book. A considerable part of the non-Italian maps are printed in Vienna and various cities in Germany. The small third set consists of five plans of Rome. In the Vossius collection 24 printed books can be considered as atlases, an overview is given by De Vries (1981). The atlases date from 1507 to 1663. Ten of these atlases are published in Italy, among others the 1507 Ptolemy edition (Rome). Eight atlases are published in Amsterdam, among which several sea atlases. The other works are printed in Cologne, Ingolstadt, Strasbourg and London. Finally four manuscript works with maps in the Vossius collection are worth mentioning:

  1. Mappae geographicae XXVII after Claudius Ptolemaeus, ca. 1500-1550 (VGF 1)
  2. Insularium illustratum by Henricus Martellus, ca. 1490 (VLF 23)
  3. the Opera duo. Ars nautica / Viagem de Fernao de Magelhaes by Ferdinandus Oliverius, 1555 (VLF 41)
  4. Imaginis urbium delineati in itinere inde a Vindebona per Hungariam et Turciam usque ad Constantinopolem, possibly by Melchior Lorichs, ca. 1550-1600 (VLO 50)

The 24 printed atlases and other geographical works are spread over the holdings of rare books and atlases of the library:

  1. Adrichem, Chr. van, Theatrum Terrae Sanctae et biblicarum historiarum. Cologne, 1593 (567 A 4)
  2. Apianus, Ph., Bairische Landtaflen XXIIII. Ingolstadt, 1568 (COLLBN Atlas 300)
  3. Ballino, G., De' disegni delle più illustri città et fortezza del mondo parte I (470 B 23)
  4. Bertelli, P., Theatrum urbium Italicarum. Venice, 1599 (351 C 9)
  5. Blaeu, W.J., 't Derde deel van 't Licht der Zee-vaert. Amsterdam, 1621 (COLLBN Atlas 617)
  6. Blaeu, W.J., Zeespiegel. Amsterdam, 1652 (COLLBN Atlas 304)
  7. Bordone, B., Isolario. Venice, 1547 (COLLBN Atlas 307)
  8. Boschini, M., L'Archipelago con tutte le isole, scogli secche e bassi fondi. Venice, 1658 (351 C 20)
  9. Braun, G. & F. Hogenberg, Civitates orbis terrarum. Antwerp/Cologne, 1575-1618 (COLLBN Atlas 45: 1-3)
  10. Camotio, G.F., Tabulae geographicae, topographicae et iconographicae ... Venice, 1571-1574 (388 C 4)
  11. Camotio, G.F., Tavole di Venetia ... Venice, 1571-1572 (468 B 28)
  12. Doncker, H., De zee-atlas ofte water-waereld. Amsterdam, 1663 (COLLBN Atlas 59)
  13. Dudley, R., Dell'arcano del mare. Florence, 1646-1647 (COLLBN Atlas 214: 1-4)
  14. Hornius, G., Accuratissima orbis antiqui delineatio ... Amsterdam, 1654 (COLLBN Atlas 147)
  15. Jacobszoon, Th., Nieuwe lees-caert ofte Loots-mans wegh-wijser. Amsterdam, 1653 (COLLBN Atlas 658: 1-2)
  16. Mercator, G. & J. Hondius, Atlas minor. Amsterdam, 1628 (COLLBN Atlas 653)
  17. Norden, J., Speculum Britanniae. London, 1593 (1365 G 58)
  18. Ptolemaeus, C., Geographia. Rome, 1507 (704 A 14)
  19. Ptolemaeus, C., Ptolemaeus auctus restitutus emaculatus cum tabulis veteribus ac novis. Strasbourg, 1520 (COLLBN Atlas 25)
  20. Ruyters, D., Toortse der zeevaerdt, verlichtende West-Indiën, Brasilien, Guinea en Angola. Amsterdam, 1648 [without maps] (1370 E 24)
  21. [Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae] Rome, [1567-1632] (COLLBN Atlas 6)
  22. [Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae] Rome, [1567-1597] (COLLBN Atlas 7)
  23. Waghenaer, L.J., Spiegel der Seefart. Amsterdam, 1589 (COLLBN Atlas 291)
  24. Ziegler, J., Quae intys continentur ... Strasbourg, 1532 (366 A 13)

This map collection is part of the larger ubl024 Collection Isaac Vossius


  • Creation: ca. 1490-1663
  • Creation: Bulk 1540-1567

Conditions Governing Use

Regulations that apply during the use of these materials can be found on the website of Leiden University Library. Some of the printed and manuscript volumes have limited access.

Biographical / Historical

Isaac Vossius was a classical philologist and collector of manuscripts, maps, atlases and printed works. He published, among other subjects, about classical and physical geography. He was born in 1618 as the son of humanist Gerard Johannes Vossius (1577-1649). In 1648, Isaac started to work as a scholar for Queen Christina of Sweden, where he was appointed court librarian two years later. Part of the library of Christina, who abdicated in 1654, ended up in Vossius' collection as compensation for late payments and loss of his own books. Isaac Vossius died in 1689 at Windsor.


188 maps, 24 printed atlases and 4 manuscript volumes

Language of Materials


Abstract in Dutch

Verzameling kaarten en atlassen verzameld door Isaac Vossius (1618-1689), klassiek filoloog en verzamelaar, onderdeel van de grotere Collectie Isaac Vossius die in Leiden wordt beheerd.

Abstract in English

Collection of maps and atlases gathered by Isaac Vossius (1618-1689), classical philiologist and collector, as part of the larger Isaac Vossius Collection kept in Leiden.

Physical Location

Leiden University Library, Special Collections

Other Finding Aids

The loose maps, atlases and manuscripts are described in our online catalogue.

Custodial History

Two parchment bindings show the ex libris and the stamped coat of arms of the princes Orsini-Vok, lords of Rosenberg in Bohemia. Via the Royal Library of Queen Christina of Sweden they came into the possession of Isaac Vossius.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Isaac's heirs accepted an offer from the curators of Leiden University in 1690 to buy the collection for 33,000 guilders on behalf of its library.


No future additions are to be expected.


  • Vries, D. de, Atlases and maps from the library of Isaac Vossius (1618-1689), in: International Yearbook of Cartography 21 (1981), pp. 171-194.
  • Woodward, D., The Italian map trade, 1480-1650, in: D. Woodward (ed.), The history of cartography vol. 3. Cartography and the European Renaissance. Chicago, 2007, pp. 773-803.


The materials can be requested via the online catalogue. It can be consulted in the Special Collections Reading Room.

Collection guide of the Isaac Vossius maps collection (ca. 1490-1663)
Collectie kaarten van Isaac Vossius
Martijn Storns, 2015
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Beschrijving is in het English.

Revision Statements

  • 16 September 2016: latest update

Repository Details

Part of the Leiden University Libraries Archives & Collections Repository

Witte Singel 27
Leiden 2311 BG Netherlands
+31 71 527 2857