About the artwork
Der Zee-vaert lof, handelende van de gedenck-waerdigste zee-vaerden met de daeraenklevende op en onder-ganghen der voornaemste heerschappijen der gantscher wereld: zedert haere beginselen tot op den dagh van huyden. In VI boecken beschreven.
Amsterdam, Jacob Pietersz. Wachter (colophon: printed by Jan Fredericksz. Stam) , 1634. Folio. With letterpress half-title, a splendid engraved allegorical title-page with Neptune and numerous other figures, and 18 large engraved and etched illustrations in text (11.5 x 16.5 cm), including an original etching by Rembrandt: an allegorical scene of the "Ship of Fortune", with a nude figure of Fortune standing in a small sail boat, made for the book, signed "Rembrandt f. 1633". The other illustrations are by Willem Basse. Contemporary sheepskin parchment.
First and only edition of Herckmans's Der zee-vaert lof (In praise of sea voyages), in Dutch, with one of the very few book illustrations by the great painter and etcher Rembrandt van Rijn (1606/07-1669), here in one of the "early impressions" noted by New Hollstein. The book itself is also of interest, with a long verse poem in six books in honour of voyages from Noah's time to 1632 in chronological order, with extensive marginal annotations, including voyages by Columbus and the other great explorers venturing east, west and to the arctic. It forms a complete maritime history. It is followed by a short (9-page) poem in honour of ship travel on the Dutch rivers, then a 1-page poem in honour of Cornelis Jansz de Haen in 1633. The preliminaries contain additional short poems and a 6-page note to the reader by the author, as well as laudatory verses by Barlaeus, Boxhoorn, Revius, Scriverius and others. Basse's illustrations also deserve praise, though overshadowed by Rembrandt. Sabin quotes Stevens noting all "eighteen exquisite etchings". But the work is primarily and justly famous for containing one of the six etchings Rembrandt made especially as and appearing as book illustrations (in 3 books).
With the late 19th-century bookplate of A.C. Burnell. Slightly foxed (including the Rembrandt illustration) and with some water stains (not affecting the Rembrandt illustration). Binding rubbed and dirty, and with cracks in the hinges. Good copy of a very desirable book on maritime history, with an original Rembrandt etching among the illustrations.
Borba de Moraes, pp. 398-399; Hollstein (Dutch & Flemish) I, Basse 49-65; Sabin 31476; not in Cat. NHSM; for the Rembrandt illustration: Bartsch 111; H. de la Fontaine Verwey, Uit de Wereld van het Boek, II, pp.130-131 (also in English in Quaerendo, 3 (1973), pp. 5-6); New Hollstein, Rembrandt 123.II.