[Two Views Created by the Famed Anna Beek]
A gorgeous pair of views published and hand colored by royal commission.
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Anna van Westerstee Beek was born in the Hague in 1667 and married a prominent local publisher, but her husband deserted her and her seven children in 1693. Granted a divorce by the local magistrate, Anna continued the publishing business and possibly assumed the guild rights of her former husband.
According to the Carlyn Osborn at the Library of Congress:
“There was a long tradition of women being intricately involved in the largest map publishing houses (called “ateliers”) in the Low Countries. Women were involved at every level of production: engraving, printing, coloring, and publishing. Ateliers could have a large network of family members working on production at any given time, including wives, daughters, sisters, and widows. It was not uncommon for a widow to take charge of a publishing operation or inherit the guild rights upon the death of a husband, including women from the famed House of Hondius. Because of this, we should not be surprised that Anna Beek ran Chez Beek as Chez Anna Beek following her divorce.”
Though Dutch women weren’t uncommon in cartography, female court artists were much more scarce. In addition to publishing the battle plans featured by the Library of Congress, Beek was also commissioned as a royal colorist to Prince William III of Orange. William was a renowned lover of art and architecture, and asked her to update a ten volume series of prints. This was done by adjusting the paper (enlarging the margins, moving title blocks, or removing elements entirely) and adding vivid hand color; most likely applied by Anna herself. The bright yellow border and soft pastel skylines, often featuring various cloud shapes, are two signature characteristics.
The royal collection went to auction in the early 18th century and a number of the volumes were split among the European map trade in the early 1960’s. These two examples were both originally published by Matthew Merian in Frankfurt around 1630, and were updated by Anna Beek during her commssion between 1690 and 1700. Please inquire for individual prices.
Grossen Sommern. Sheet size: 24.6″ x 10.2″ Two small offsetting stains in the lower corners, both have some faint surface abrasion as well. (Not to point fingers, but I believe these issues are related to the adjstments made by Beek herself). Faint wear and creasing along centerfold. Attractive view of a small German town on a river bank, with a smaller town further in the distance. Plowed fields and a carriage driver in the foreground. Beek updated the print with vivid hand color, extended margins, and moved both the title and shield (presumably for aesthetic reasons). These updates were masked with watercolor. Several stunning clouds in the sky, including what might be finger-prints along the top?
Klotze Furstlich Ambthause. Sheet size: 11.25″ x 10.4″ Near fine condition, with a few small spots of foxing in the margins. Beautiful perspective of a princely hunting lodge in Germany. Updated with extended margins (nearly doubling the size of the sheet) and fine, heavily applied colors. Thick pastels in the sky obscure some of the original engraving lines.
Publication Date: c. 1690
Author: Anna Beek
Sheet Width (in): See Description
Sheet Height (in): See Description
Condition Description: A few scattered spots of foxing and some discoloration from age along the outer edges. Faint offsetting stains directly above the horizon in Grossen Sommern. Otherwise fine condition, with exquisite original hand color and contemporarily re-affixed to fine paper with extended margins. Fit for a king!
1 in stock