Rerum per Octennium in Brasilia
Caspar van Baerle. Amsterdam: I. Blaeu, 1647. Gift of Louise Bulkley Dillingham, Class of 1916.
Restored through the generous contribution of Maxine Lewis, Class of 1958.
When the Dutch West India Company removed its governor of Brazil, Maurice de Nassau, Nassau retaliated by underwriting the production of this magnificent illustrated book on the history of his administration. Nassau commissioned the Dutch scholar Caspar de Baerle (1584-1648) to write the narrative, and the printer and engraver Johannes Blaeu to produce the maps and illustrations. Many of the images were based on paintings done by Frans Post, one of a group of artists and scientists recruited by Nassau to work in Brazil in expectation that their efforts would attract wider European interest in the colony. This is an exceptionally important book both for its beautiful views of Brazil and for its critical documentation of life in Brazil in the seventeenth century.
The book is in its original vellum binding, but the vellum had separated from the spine and the front and back boards were only loosely attached. In addition, one of the plates had come away from the binding and sat unattached in the volume, and many of the plates were wrinkled in the book's gutter. Restoration work reattached and strengthened the binding, and cleaned and straightened the plates.
Documentation images before (above) and after (below) restoration by the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts.