From 1660 to 1678, the Dutch lawyer Van der Hem used the largest and most expensive book ever published in the 17th century – Joan Blaeu’s Atlas Maior – as the basis for an atlas of his own - the Atlas Blaeu-Van der Hem.
The Blaeu-Van der Hem original is held by the Austrian National Library. It describes the entire surface of the earth in around 50 volumes containing 2400 maps, prints paintings and drawings. It is often touted as the most beautiful atlas ever composed and has been recommended for inclusion in UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register. A recently published facsimile with a very limited number of illustrations will put you back about $80 000. But most importantly of all – of course – is that it contains one picture of the Rock.
The Rock from somewhere near Algeciras
There are, of course, other older and even more accurately annotated plans of the Rock such as those produced by Anton van den Wyngaerde (see LINK) and Luis Bravo de Acuña, (see LINK) for example. But none of them are accompanied by such an accurate and modern looking painting of the town of Gibraltar and the Rock itself. As I have been unable to uncover any accompanying text – and can’t afford the necessary $80 000 to find out - I have take the liberty of annotating the painting myself.
2. Torre de la Vela (Tower of Homage - Moorish Castle) (See LINK)
3. Baluarte de San Pablo (North Bastion)
4. Hospital de Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados (Blue Barracks) (See LINK)
5. Atarazana (Dockyard)
6. Hispano-Moorish Line Wall (See LINK)
7. El Hacho and Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe (Signal Station)
8. Muralla de San Raymundo (Philip II Wall)
9. Muralla de San Benito (Charles V Wall) (See LINK)
10. Baluarte de Nuestra Señora de Rosario
11. Red Sands (Curiously cultivated)
12. Torre de Tuerto ( and very small New Mole)
13. Capilla de Nuestra Señora de Europa or Ermita de Nuestra Señora de los Remedios
14. Bab-al-Fath (Gatehouse) (See LINK)
15. Ermita Nuestra Señora de la Cabeza
16. Fuente del Choruello