Antique Print of the Castle of Batavia by Nieuhof (1669)



Description: Antique print titled ‘The Castle of Batavia’. Old print of the Castle of Batavia (Jakarta), Indonesia. This print originates from ‘An embassy from the East-India company of the United Provinces, to the Grand Tartar Cham, emperour of China (..)’ by J. Nieuhof, translated by John Ogilby. The engravings in Nieuhof’s original Dutch edition were based on illustrations done by artists in China and contained around 150 illustrations. Ogilby had many of them copied for his English translation, although he included around a third fewer pictures. The titles of the illustrations were changed into English and the artists, such as Wenceslaus Hollar, who did the copying, added their own signatures in place of the original artists’. This was standard practice for the time.There are also around twenty-five illustrations in Ogilby’s that were not included in the Dutch editions such as the Manchu lady. Some of these illustrations were sourced from the works of Athanasius Kircher.


Artists and Engravers: Johan / Jan / Johannes Nieuhof / Nieuhoff / Neuhof (1618-1672) was a Dutch traveler who wrote about his journeys to Brazil, China and India. The most famous of these was a trip of 2,400 km from Canton to Peking in 1655-1657 as part of a Dutch envoy, which enabled him to become an authoritative Western writer on China. Johan Nieuhof was born in Uelsen, Germany, of which his father (originally from Zwolle) was mayor. Nieuhof left for Brazil in 1640 as a reserve officer-candidate – from then on, barring two short family visits in 1658 and 1671, he spent all the rest of his life abroad. After an adventurous career in the service of the Dutch East India Company (or VOC) – between 1660 and 1667 he occupied posts in India and on Ceylon – he then lived in Batavia until 1670. He then disappeared without trace on Madagascar, traveling in a sloop from which he had landed to seek drinking water.

  • Date: 1669
  • Overall size: 31 x 10.5 cm.
  • Image size: 20 x 10 cm.
  • Condition: Fair/good, age-related toning. Narrow margins, minor soiling. Blank verso. Please study image carefully.
  • Purchase code: BG-10130