Amsterdam: Cornelius Claesz (Cornille Nicolas), 1609.
Engraving. Uncolored. Sheet measures 12.75" x 9.25"
Side view of two of the ships used by Willem Barentsz in his third voyage during his Arctic explorations in search of the Northeast Passage. The text above the view describes the curious phenomenon illustrated in the top center, "For the sake of a marvelous Meteor, seen on the 4th day, in the year 1596, for each side of the Sun was another shining Sun, and two arcs of the sky passing through the three Suns: then two arches to heaven, Of which one was large round the Sun, and the other through the great circle, and the lower edge of the great circle was raised above the horizon 28 degrees". Possibly the first depiction of sundogs or parhelia
The event described here take place just a few days before the crew discovered Bear Island. The ships viewed here are possibly the two purchased by the town of Amsterdam, one to be captained by Jan Rijp and the other by Barentsz. The ships found themselves back on Bear Island on July 1. Barentz decided to continue around northern tip of Nova Zemblya, while Rijp turned back toward the Netherlands, insisting that the northern tip of Nova Zembla was too dangerous. Barentz eventually did get trapped in the ice. He would eventually die at sea enroute to the Kola Peninsula aboard one of the two boats the crew used to escape. His crew would be later rescued by Rijp.
The French text describes part of the third journey during the Arctic explorations of Willem Barentzs (c. 1550--1597), a Dutch navigator and cartographer. Conducted between 1594 and 1596, Barentzs' three voyages into the seas north of Siberia are widely considered the most notable of many European efforts in this period to find a northern sea passage to China and India.
Gerrit de Veer (c. 1570-1598), second mate to Barentzs, kept a journal where he describes the journeys in meticulous detail, including the discoveries of Spitzbergen, Bear Island, and Novaya Zemlya during the successful third voyage, which Barentzs piloted under the command of Jacob van Heemskerk. Perhaps the third voyage's most famous incident was when after the ship became entrapped in ice, de Veer, who was also the ship's carpenter, directed the dismantling of the ship and the subsequent construction of a cabin from its lumber in which the crew spent the winter.
Although Barentzs did not survive the trip back, de Veer and some of the other crew members journeyed home on open boats and were eventually rescued by Dutch ships. De Veer's journal was originally published in 1598 in Latin by Cornelius Claesz, one of the most significant Amsterdam publishers of the end of the sixteenth century.
A prominent publisher of early Dutch travel accounts, Claesz adopted de Veer's heroic tale and commissioned Baptista van Doetichum to produce engravings to accompany the text. Many of these incredible images depicted walruses--referred to as "big cows"--sea monsters, and polar bears for the first time, as well as beautiful scenes of icebergs and crew activity.
Condition: Very Good