Witsen, Nicolaes. Aeloude en Hedendaegsche Scheeps-Bouw en Bestier [...].

Amsterdam, Caspar Commelijn, 1671.

Folio (200 x 323 mm). 2 parts in one vol., with appendix. (14), 516, 40, (4) pp. Title-page printed in red and black. With engraved title by R. Hooghe and 111 (instead of 114) engraved plates after Witsen (1 folded). Contemporary full calf over wooden boards with giltstamped borders, spine, and spine-title.


First edition. The standard work on shipbuilding by a Dutch author - the leading nation in naval architecture in the early modern period. This seminal work contains detailed descriptions and illustrations as well as an account on the history of navigation and ship building since antiquity, discussing construction techniques, different types of ships, and naval architecture from across the world as observed by the author during his travels.

Nicolas Witsen (ca. 1640-1717) was mayor of Amsterdam 13 times between 1682 and 1706. In 1693 he became administrator of the Dutch East India Company (VOC). In his free time he was a cartographer and maritime writer, as well as an expert on Russian affairs.

Binding somewhat rubbed; front hinges broken. Title-page waterstained; upper portion of the gutter waterstained in entire first half of the volume; occasional marginal tears, browning and light fingerstaining. Still a good working copy of the classic that in 1697 inspired Tsar Peter the Great to a four-month training period at the Dutch East India Company shipyards organised by Witsen.


Landwehr, Romeyn de Hooghe 16. NNBW IV, 1473. Cf. Poggendorff II, 1344 (Latin title).

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