Jan Huygen van Linschoten’s travelogue

Jan Huygen van Linschoten’s Voyasie… (1624) and Itinerarium… £44,000 at Chiswick Auctions.

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The Midlands-based seller had bought it as part of a crate of books acquired from a bric-a-brac shop around six years. Book specialist Clive Moss could not quite believe his eyes when he received the package. “It is such a rare book and I was particularly taken with its impeccable condition”, he said.

The volume binds together two key works in the history of Dutch exploration in the 17th century: a second edition of Jan Huygen van Linschoten’s Voyasie… (1624) and his hugely influential Itinerarium… (1644) with 31 double-page engraved plates.

Voyasie… is a rare description of two pioneering Arctic voyages made in the last decade of the 16th century in search of the fabled North-East Passage to China. Linschoten (1563-1611) himself had accompanied his countryman, the navigator and explorer Willem Barentsz, on two voyages to the Arctic Ocean in 1594 and 1595. A remarkably accurate map of Norway and parts of Denmark, Sweden and Finland is the last engraving in the work.

Documenting previously unknown routes to the Spice Islands, together with Linschoten’s account of his travels in the Orient, Itinerarium… is the work credited with facilitating the Dutch entry into the lucrative East Indies and Brazilian trade.

The buyer of the volume at Chiswick Auctions was a dealer.