Mortier, Covens & Zoon

Mortier, Covens & Zoon

Covens & Mortier was one of the largest and most successful publishing firms in Dutch history and continued in business for over a century. Pierre Mortier the Elder (1661-1711) had obtained a privilege in 1690 to distribute the works of French geographers in the Netherlands. After his widow continued the business for several years, Cornelis (1699-1783) took over in 1719.

In 1721, Mortier forged a partnership with Johannes Covens (1697-1774), who had recently married Cornelis’ sister. They published under the joint name of Covens & Mortier. Johannes continued to work with Cornelis’ heirs after his death. In 1774, upon the death of his father, Johannes Covens II (1722-1794) took over his father’s share. In 1778, the company changed its name to J. Covens & Zoon, or J. Covens & Son.

Covens II’s son, Cornelis (1764-1825), later inherited the business and brought Petrus Mortier IV back into the fold. Petrus was the great-grandson of Petrus Mortier I. From 1794, the business was called Mortier, Covens & Zoon, or Mortier, Covens, & Son.

The business specialized in publishing French geographers including Deslisle, Jaillot, Janssonius, and Sanson. They also published atlases, for example a 1725 reissue of Frederik de Wit’s Atlas Major and an atlas, with additions, from the works of Guillaume Delisle. There were also Covens & Mortier pocket atlases and town atlases. The company profited from acquiring plates from other geographers as well. For example, the purchased Pieter van der Aa’s plates in 1730. Finally, they also compiled a few maps in house. At their height, they had the largest collection of geographic prints ever assembled in Amsterdam.


1808 - Carte Generale de la Polijnesie Australe ou Des Iles Eparses de La Mer Pacifique . . . chez Mortier Covens & Fils

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Scarce chart of the Western Pacific Ocean, published by Mortier, Covens & Fils. The map is based on Johann Matthias Christoph Reinecke's 1801 map of the region, which was the first German map to depict Tasmania as a separate island. The Mortier...


1780 - Connecticut, and Parts adjacent . . .

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Bernard Romans' Map of Connectiuct -- A Revolutionary War Era Rarity Important early map of Connecticut and Long Island, originally published in New Haven by Bernard Romans and later in Amsterdam. This map was one of four Romans maps parts of the...