[Jigsaw puzzle] Covens & Mortier, L'Utrecht.... Amsterdam, circa 1779. 8¾" x 11¾." Original color. Lightly age-toned. Paper is lifting from the backing at a few tiny places in the graticule; slight warping, else VG. A very rare early jigsaw puzzle map accompanied by a period tongue and groove wooden box measuring 5½" x 6¼" x 1½;" sliding lid with 'Utrecht" in ink. Map mounted to a thin wood backing, the verso covered with blue marbled paper, and cut into 19 pieces. Puzzle shapes are random and don't conform to political or geographic boundaries. Possibly from an old plate by Van der Aa who in 1713 published a map of the same size and title. Covens & Mortier may have purchased Van der Aa's plate, and were re-purposing an old map. $1,250.00
There is some dispute about the creation of dissected maps, but the concept of using puzzles to teach geography to children was more popular in Britain than on the continent during the 18th century. The Elliott Avedon Virtual Museum of Games (University of Waterloo) quotes Bekkerings, History of the Jigsaw Puzzle in the Netherlands "we have seen several pre-1760 maps by Covens and Mortier of Amsterdam, which were made into jigsaw puzzles...We have found that Covens and Mortier advertised their puzzles in 1779..."
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