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Hendrick Hondius I
Birth Date: 
Birth Place: 
Duffel, Brabant
Death Date: 
Death Place: 
The Hague
One of the leading Dutch publishers of the 17th century, Hendrik Hondius I was also a printmaker and draftsman who created about 250 prints over his long career and published hundreds more. According to his 1661 biography by the writer Cornelis de Bie (1627-1715), the Hondius family moved to Mechelen in Flanders and then to Antwerp. His initial artistic training was with the Brussels goldsmith Godefroy van Gelder. He studied drawing with the Antwerp engraver Johan Wierix (1549-ca. 1618) and studied art in Cologne, London and Paris. He had moved to The Hague by 1597, when he married Sara Jansdr, the daughter of a wealthy goldsmith, joined the artists’ Guild of St. Luke, and received his first print privilege from the States General of the United Provinces for his engraved portrait of Maurits of Nassau, Prince of Orange (1567-1625), the statholder (NHD 230). In 1599 he received a general privilege from the States General for all his work. At this time Hondius also ran a small but successful publishing business, which issued books, prints by Hondius, prints from plates acquired from other publishers, and from 1601 prints engraved by Andries Stock (ca. 1580-ca. 1648), who would engrave prints for Hondius until 1638. For reasons not clear, sometime around 1603 Hondius moved with his wife and three children to Amsterdam, and then moved to Leiden by the end of 1604. He ran a publishing business in each town, selling works by other artists as well as his own. By 1605 Hondius was back in The Hague, which remained his primary residence for the rest of his life. He invested in houses with his father-in-law and on his own in addition to running his publishing business. In 1608 he began employing Simon Frisius (ca. 1580-1629) as an etcher, who went on to create about two hundred plates for Hondius. Frisius, Hondius, Stock and Robert de Baudous (ca. 1574-aft. 1656), created the series of 68 portraits of artists published as Pictorum Aliquot Celebrium Praecipuae Germaniae Inferioris Effigies in 1610 (NHD 80-115); twenty-two prints copied the 1572 series engraved Dominique Lampsonius (1532-1599) and published by Hieronymus Cock (1510-1570). Hondius also gave drawing lessons; one of his students was Constantijn Huygens (1596-1687), who became an art patron and secretary to Prince Maurits. Hondius also created original drawings for prints, which were then etched or engraved by others. He published books throughout his career. One example is a six-volume treatise by Samuel Marolois (ca 1572-ca 1627), Opera Mathematica, with many of the illustrations by Hondius, published during 1614-1616. Actively involved in the political and religious affairs, Hondius was strongly anti-Catholic. He had published pointed anti-Catholic prints as well as the series Celebrated Reformers and Men of the Religion (NHD 156-208). In 1617 he became involved in a dispute among Protestants on issues of religious interpretation, and served several times as an elder of the church. His wife Sara had died sometime before 1620, when he remarried Goeltken van Heemskerck. The renewed war with Spain in 1621 brought a new line of publications, maps showing sieges and battles. His son Willem Hondius (ca. 1597-ca. 1660) joined the publishing firm sometime in the 1620s; a few of his prints are dated 1623 and he joined the Guild of St. Luke in 1629. In the 1630s the senior Hondius served in various positions in the Guild of St. Luke and was dean of his neighborhood in The Hague in the late 1640s. While the pace of his business slowed in the late 1620s and early 1630s, Hondius picked up production in the 1640s. He continued printmaking for his entire life, making his last dated print at age 75. He died at age 77 and was buried October 25, 1650. (TNB 6/2012). Selected bibliography: Luitjen, Ger and Ariane van Suchtelen, et al. (eds.) Dawn of the Golden Age: Northern Netherlandish Art, 1580-1620. Exhibition catalog.Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum; and Zwolle: Waanders Uitgevers, 1993. Orenstein, Nadine M. Hendrik Hondius and the Business of Prints in Seventeenth-Century Holland. Rotterdam: Sound & Vision Interactive, 1996.