PEETERS, J. – VOSTERMANS II, L. – complete Malta set of 3 engravings – c1680



Three views of Malta completing the whole set – separately framed in Maltese antique mahogany frames €600.00 – (without frames €500.00)

Antwerp, after 1680 – engraving size – 105 x 262 mm each engraving

View 1 – Malta. A view of the land front of Valletta and Floriana with soldiers in the foreground.

View 2 – Malta. A view of the Grand Harbour entrance,  Fort St. Elmo and a part of Valletta, with the chain in the same position as view 1.

View 3 – La Citta Di Malta. An extensive view of  Valletta taken from the east right up to Marsa, with a chain from Valletta to Fort St. Angelo closing the harbour; St. Paul’s islands in the distance.

The chain visible was the presumably still the one ordered from Venice by Grand Master Jean de Valette (r.1557-1568) just before the Great Siege. It was 300 paces long, of a thickness that broke all records in the Christian world. It could block the harbour  between Fort St. Angelo and Valletta, but on May 7th 1565 it had been placed between St. Angelo and Senglea Point. This picture book  recieved considerable popular support, running into several subsequent editions. Johannes or Jan Peeters was a Flemish baroque painter born in Antwerp, specializing in landscapes and shipwrecks. He was known for his travel drawings that were used by several engravers. The Belgian Lucas Vorstermans (1595-1675) was born in Zaltbommel, and died in Antwerp. Jan Peeters published the first edition of the book with the  Candia and Malta views and was dedicated to the Rev. Don Macario Simeomo S.T.L.. Abbot of the Church of St. Michael in Antwerp. There is no evidence that Jan Peeters came to Malta, yet, maybe Peeters had access to the landscape paintings drawn by the Dutch artist William Schellinks (1623-1678), who had accompanied a young Dutchman, Jacques Thierry, on a Grand Tour of Europe that lasted four years and included Southern Italy, Sicily and Malta. Schellinks stayed in Malta from September 14 to October 31, 1664, after which he returned to Holland, when precisely at this time that Peeters prepared the Malta views for publication.

Lucas Vorsterman one of the most skilled engravers of the 17th century working with Rubens in his studio, reproducing his paintings, until an argument ended their relationship due to Vorstermans highly volatile temperament. Rubens’ letters give an insight into the split: he wrote that Vorsterman, rather immodestly, insisted that it was his engraving skills alone that gave Ruben’s prints any value! Slightly later he lamented that no printing had been done in his studio “on account of the mental disorder of my engraver”. Before the quarrel, Rubens had agreed to be godfather to Vorsterman’s eldest son, while Van Dyck became godfather to his daughter. In 1624 Vorsterman came to England and survived on the patronage of royalty and nobility. He returned to Antwerp and was one of the printmakers selected by Van Dyck to engrave plates for the Iconography. He executed twenty two of the original eighty plates.

Gaspar Hubertus’ surname was actually Huybrechts. He was born in Antwerp in 1619 and died in 1684. He was a painter but also a publisher as the word excudit shows. Hubertus reissued the set with his own imprint in 1680. Lucas Vostermans II was born in 1624. In the same year the familly moved to England for 6 years. He was back in Antwerp around 1630, where he worked closely with Van Dyke. The Antwerp based publisher Jacques Peeters published c. 1690 a series of prints related to the Habsburg-Ottoman war (1683-1699) and the Ottoman Empire, including Mediterranean views and views of biblical places. The etchings are done by Gaspar Bouttats, Lucas Vorstermans and Coenraad Lauwers.


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