De Ridder-matige Huysen en Gesighten in de Provincie van Utrecht Getekent en in 't Licht Gebracht door C. Specht tot Utrecht Aº, 1703

Author: Specht, Casper
Year: 1703
Edition: First edition
Publisher: Utrecht; C. Specht
Category: Utrechtse Heuvelrug
Subcategory: Utrechtse Heuvelrug

The second issue (as far as it concerns the title page) of this extremely rare and important topographical book which (though unlikely, given the dates of the engravings) may have been published first in 1698. The date on the engraved title page bears the year 1703, while the rest of the engraved title page is exactly identical to the 1698 edition. Oblong 4to, measuring 20 x 30 cm and containing an engraved title page plus 32 fine engravings by or after Caspar Specht, which have been numbered by pen in an old hand.
The (near) contemporary (early 18th century) binding of parchment over brocade paper covered boards is rather worn and soiled, but still very sound. Moreover quite obviously at the end eight leaves have been removed. There is a very small library stamp on the back side of each plate.
The plates are strong and clean, though there is occasionally some minor browning, mostly restricted to the margins and sporadically a very little spotting here and there.

There are three editions of this book; the edition with the 1698 title page, this edition and a later edition by Joachim Ottens, published around 1715. After the death of Specht in September 1710 the original copper plates were acquired by Joachim Ottens from Amsterdam who had become a member of the Amsterdam Booksellers Guild in that year. Several years later these engravings were republished under the title ‘Het verheerlykt Utrecht’ by his sons Reinier and Josua Ottens probably somewhere around 1730, but not before 1725 as the brothers started their partnership in that year following the death of their mother, who had managed the firm since the death of her husband in 1719. (*)

It is important to mention these dates here, as sometimes editions are attributed to the Ottens brothers as early as the year 1700 (a.o. by S. Muller Fz.), while Josua still was to be born then and Reinier celebrated his 4th anniversary in that year.
In the editions, both by Joachim Ottens and by his sons any reference to Specht has been removed.

The importance of this publication by Caspar Specht is derived amongst others from the differences we can see with the drawings that Roelant Roghman made about half a century earlier of the same castles in the province of Utrecht. Schonauwen castle e.g. was transferred into quite a different house during this period, as was the castle of Beverweerd, while of castle Den Ham we can see on Roghman’s drawings that the roof on the keep is missing, while on the view by Specht this roof has been restored again. Also significant are the changes made to Vleuten castle and others.
Occasionally this book contains the oldest known picture of a castle, like i.e. castle Den Engh.

Here below the complete list of plates as bound in this copy. Of each plate the date is mentioned, as well as the name(s) of the engravers.

List of (hand numbered) plates:

01 -   1698, C. Specht, Het Konings Jacht-Huys Soestdyk
02 -   1699, C. Specht, ’t Huys tot Renswoude
03 -   1700, C. Specht, Carsbergen te Seyst
04 -   1698, C. Specht, ’T Huys tot Seyst
05 -   1699, C. Specht, ‘T Huys tot Seyst van Achteren
06 -   N.D., C. Specht, Het Huys te Sandenborg in Langbroek
07 -   1698, C. Specht, I. van Vianen, ‘T Huys tot Beverweert
08 -   1702, C. Specht, ’T Huys tot Hermelen
09 -   1698, C. Specht, I. van Vianen, ’T Huys tot Rysenborg
10 -   1698, C. Specht, ’T Huys te Schoonauwen
11 -   1698, C. Specht, 'T Huys te Rynhuyse
12 -   1698, C. Specht, Huys te Vuylkoop
13 -   N.D., C. Specht, J. Vianen, ’T Huys te Rynouwen
14 -   1699, C. Specht, ’T Huys te Schalkwyk
15 -   1697, C. Specht, I. van Vianen, ’T Huys Den Engh
16 -   1697, C. Specht, I. van Vianen, 'T Huys te Haar
17 -   N.D., Broedelet, ’T Huys te Rynen-borgh
18 -   N.D., C. Specht, J. Vianen, ’T Huys te Vleuten
19 -   1698, C. Specht, ’T Huys den Ham
20 -   N.D., C. Specht, J. Vianen, ’T Huys te Voorn
21 -   1697, C. Specht, I. van Vianen, Huys te Nederhorst
22 -   1700, C. Specht, Nyenrode by Breukelen
23 -   1699, C. Specht, T Huys tot Loenersloot
24 -   1698, C. Specht, ’T Huys te Gunter-steyn
25 -   N.D., C. Specht, J. Vianen, ’T Huys te Zuylen
26 -   1700, C. Specht, I. van Vianen, ’T Casteel te Duerstede by Wyck
27 -   1702, C. Specht, ’T Huys te Batestyn of ‘t Hof te Vianen
28 -   N.D., C. Specht, Lamsweert, ’T Gesigt van de Betuwe
29 -   1697, C. Specht, Amersfoort
30 -   1697, C. Specht, Rhenen
31 -   1698, C. Specht, Wyck by Duerstede
32 -   N.D., Lamsweerde, Montfoort

WorldCat only locates two copies; one with an identical title page as our copy in the Pierpont Morgan Library and a copy with the 1698 title page at Twente University Library, which should have 36 plates. However, this number includes the engraved title page so that there are actually 35 plates. In comparison to our copy there are 4 additional plates, depicting the castles of Heemstede, Plettenburg, Sterkenburg and Vliet, while the plate " ’T Gesigt van de Betuwe " is missing in their copy.
In the copy which is in the possession of the Morgan Library & Museum there are also plates of the castles of Groenewoude and Oudegeyn.

We have identified seven of the eight missing plates, viz.:

1) N.D.,  anonymous, 'T Huys Groenewou van outs Woudenberg
2) 1700, C. Specht, 'T Huys tot Sterkenborg
3) N.D.,  C. Specht, Plettenburg te Jutphaes
4) N.D.,  C. Specht, I. van Vianen, 'T Huys te Heemstede
5) 1701, C. Specht, 'T Huys te Vliet te Capel
6) N.D.,  anonymous, 'T Huys te Amerongen
7) N.D.,  Andre Heberle, Oudegeyn by Jutphaes

Despite the date of 1698 on the title page of the Twente University Library copy, the plates in that copy are exactly identical to the plates in our copy, including the dates as mentioned here above(!).

Overall a bright copy with strong impressions of an extremely rare book.

Muller 1120, Tiele 1017.

(*) Source: Repertorium van Nederlandse kaartmakers

Link to details on the printing history of this book.

Click on a picture to enlarge.