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In the 17th century the Dutch commercial fleet counted hundreds of ships sailing the known and unknown worldseas. Knowledge about the international and European developments, were of course of the greatest importance. An important news vehicle was De Europische Mercurius. First it was a quarterly issue, later it was published biannually Being mainly focussed on events in Europe, the newsmessager, Mercurius, was often shown on the annual frontcover together with the symbol representing Europe, the Lady with the Bull/god. De Europische Mercurius appeared between 1690 and 1756, or 65 years of publication. In this period the chronicle was issued by repectively four bookshops, two in Amsterdam and the last two from the Hague. The second bookshop, holding the isseuing rights was Andries van Damme, located on the Rokin in Amsterdam from 1702-1727. Apparently he was well acqainted with the Dutch artist Jan Goeree, designer, engraver, poet and publisher. During the 'van Damme period' four frontcoverprints show Mercurius with Lady Europe representing the continent in one way or another. 

In 1704 the title print of de Europische Mercurius shows Mercurius standing on a pedestal showing messages about Bavaria and other duchies to crowned queen Europa reaching eagerly for the news. The battle of Benheim ( was won  by the allied forces under the duke of Marlborough and the prince Eugénie de Savoie (Austria). Wounded soldiers and armaments are at his feet. In the distance the Dutch-English fleet that conquered Gibraltar, keeping navigation open to the Meditterranean. (2701)
The head of the bull on her left side; the bull no longer a god but a sign of the presence of Europe. In that period editor and bookseller A.van Damme worked together with his collegue Daniël Dalen in the Hague. The design is from Jan Goeree, 1670-1731, and the engraver according to the titleprint Pieter Sluyter,1702-1737.

           2701                                       2702

In 1713 finally a precarious peace was concluded in Utrecht. The title print, 159-138mm, of that year shows Europe this time seated, supported by the bull in her back. Europe is wearing a crown topped with a battered european city.The gods Minerva-war and Peace-Venus are closing in on her. Venus throws the contents of her cornucopia in her lap, if only Europe will hold on to peace. Designer and engraver are unknown. Jan Goeree did the title poem of explanation, so might as well be the designer too.


Europe is mentionned three times in his Poem of Titleprint Explanation:

      "...From oversea with rapid feet - He turns to Europe to greet......To her the cornucopia she throws - So where Peace is Europe goes...

...He will deceive himself sadly - when Minerva presses Europe badly..." 


In 1716 Europe appears again on the title print.  Laurel crowned Europe is holding the six month old deceased son, Leopold Johan, of the German emperor Karel VI. This occurrence paved the way for his sister Maria-Thérèse to succeed to the throne. The bull is watching the scene from behind. On the right apparently the escape of the catholic British throne pretender James Edward Stuart by boat from Scotland to France.
The designer, engraver, or title poet are not mentionned. The poem mentions Europe twice,:
    "Europe no disaster her befall - When disturbed by Scottish mutiny call"
    "Let Hannover's prince reign - in honour of his legal gain. - And remains Euroop in peace."

27_03                               27_04

On the 1717 title print (2704) Mercurius shows Europa the map of Götenborg. The great Nordic war, involving the North and East of Europe up to  and including the Ottoman empire took several years, 1700-1721. The Swedish army being active on the continent, provided a favourable occasion for the Danish king to attack the Swedish fleet, anchored in the port of Götenborg. The bull looks over the right shoulder of Europa. At the background a Nordic landscape. On the left for good measure Lady Brittany and a unicorn. Again no mentioning of designer or engraver. However on all four prints the face of Europa shows remarkable likeness. So Jan Goeree remains a good guess for the prints of 1713-1716-1717. It is known he wrote title poems for the 1718 and '19 issues, so why not for those of 1716 and 1717.
In this title poem, both Brittany and Europa are mentioned.

(She is curious about the outcome of the sea battle)

"Europa is more interested - What power will be vested"


January, 1, 2014     to be continued



De Europische Mercurius - Sequel.

The editor Andries van Damme and Jan Goeree, printdesigner and writer of the accompnying, explanatory poem both died around 1730. The chronicle was first continued by his widow. Other changes of editors came about but they all published under  the name Heirs of Ratelband. Ratelband was again a bookshopowner and editor in Amsterdam. In this period the print and accompanying poem became a regular feature. But no names of printdesigners and/or engravers or poem writers are known. Only the 1736 print carries the name of of its designer/engraver, Jan Ruyter, 1688-1744, likewise bookseller inAmsterdam. But the 1736 issue print does not show Europa. Actually, in the period 1730 - 1740, four prints introduce Europa, but in a slightly different way. The older J.Goeree prints show the head of the bull against the body of Europa, hiding his corps behind her. After 1731 the bull appears in full length with Europa sitting elegantly on the lying  bull.

 1731 is the year of the second Peace of Vienne, signed by Austria (the Holy Roman Empire), Spain, Gr.Britain and the Dutch Republic. The print gives Mercuur on a pedestal showing Europa an image of the Spanish crownprince Carlos. His heritage of his mothersside, the duchy of Parme in Italy, appears to be acceptable to the European powers. Europa reacts relieved at the news. (27_05) On the right Peace sitting relaxed with armories at her feet. Behind her the tomb of the deceased king of Denmark, Frederik IV. The bull looks again from behind Europa.

In the explanation of the titleplate it says: "Why Euroop appears to show - Her hope in top will grow" (hope for lasting peace)


27_05                       27_06

The following year, 1732,  Europa is the main feature of the title print (27_06) sitting comfortably on the back of the lying bull. Again the Messenger, Mercurius, shows Europa a document, promising Peace on the Barbarian coast of the southern Mediterranean. On the right, far away,  the Spanish Armada  ready for a punitive expedition to the pirate and slave town Oran (Algerian protectorate). The explanatory poem mentions Europe three times:
            "She shows us a half-easy Euroop  -  Doubting between fear and hope"                               Will it be peace or war again?
            "If this Heirtreaty would not such prevent  -  Euroop would its warflame still foment"        The Spanish and Austrian royal houses agreed by treaty not to be heir to eachothers throne.                                                                                                                                                       

            "But, herewith Euroop finds her peace of mind  -  It feels on the other hand uneasy bind"    What will be the effect of the Spanish armada? Trying to recover Gibraltar?


In the year 1737 Mercuur announces Euroop, again sitting comfortably on the bull, that finally all war threats have disappeared.(27_07)

""Mercuur brings Euroop news benign  -  That , finally sweet Peace-light clear
   What now Christianity sees shine       -  All war evils make disappear".

Although Europa reaches out to the good news, close around her stand some figures with turbans and far away there are the contours of the Turkish capital Constantinople. Austria and Russia are planning to attack  the Turkish empire.

    "Than one could the Half Moon  -  See setting in Europe soon
     When through this war, started with fierce powers  -  Constantinople would be ours".

  27_07                 27_08

The year 1739 ( 27_08) shows above Mercuur and Europa, 'Peace' in threatening clouds seated, . Will she be able to come down and hand the peace laurels to Europa? Everywhere unrest: conflict for independence in Corsica; titles to the Duchy Berg & Gulick revived time and time again; relations between England and Spain remained tense., and the war in eastern Europe went on and on. The design of the title print is from Jan Caspar Philips, 1700-1775, well known for his townviews engravings..

Explanatory poem:

"Europa notes with rapt wonder, overseeing it all, - world's unrest and croaking bawl."

N.B. The Eur. Mercurius of 1728 mentions in its poem a sitting Europa with chisel trying to carve out Peace. And indeed the frontplate shows a lady with chisel, but nowhere is there a sign of a n accompanying bull. So, or the designer did not want to make a reference to the historic namegiver of Europe, or he did not know that a figure of a bull is needed  as identification if he wanted to refer to the historic namegiver. Therefore I have left her out here.

 February 1, 2014       To be continued


Europe appears again in the title prints of 1741 and 1742 of the Europische Mercurius. In both years Europe is not an active character in the print but is presented as a image within the print. In the last two prints with the appearance of Europe, 1743 and 1745, she is again active participant in the designe of the print. When the edition is taken over by Scheurleer,'s bookshop in The Hague in 1749/1750 the title print and describing poem disappear. The chronicle stops altogether in 1756.

The year 1741 was characterized by  large battles in the center of Europe. On first view the title print looks rather peaceful. Mercurius and Peace sit quietly together playing with a spinner on the cornerstone of Europe, according to the poem. Effectively, the cornerstone on the print shows the image of Europa sitting on the back of the bull standing on the seaside. Threatening behind them stands Mars with his sword out. The shining sunbeams are almost covered by menacing clouds. During the year Prussia defeated Austria. Bavaria and France attacked Bohemia and occupied Prague. Ireland was stricken by severe famine and storm surges flooded parts of England and the Dutch Republic.
The explanatory poem states explicitely:
"For Mars warmongering incessantly, - And wants to stir all of Europe continuosly" 
"This will mean Peace alone? - That spins on Europa's corner stone"

 27_09                27_10

The next year, 1742 the title print looks rather complicated. The poem starts with:
"Europa seated on the bull's back
Who is struggling with a storm surge black."
Pointing to the storms and inundations of the winter of 1741/42 in England and Holland. The poem enters Pallas Athene , god of wisdom, who tries to get Europa in calmer waters and opens up  the entrance of a duck-decoy (see print). Prussia defeated Austria again and finally, concluded a Peace Treaty. Prussia and Britain signed an nti-French convenant.
The two medaillions represent the crowning of Charles VII, Albert as emperor of Germany and Elisabeth I as empress of Russia

But peace did not hold in 1743. A combined British-Dutch army defeated the French at Dettinger, east of the Rhine. The British King George II led his army in person, defending his Princedom Hannover, being Kurfürst and German prince-elector of that principality. The poem starts out with Euroop:
" Euroop moved and highly prostrated - Shudders at the rumours of murder and arson fated."
On the title print houses are in  flames and Europa, seated on the bull, tries to stop Mars, threatening in full length with his sword out. Only the British-Dutch lion appears to keep him in check.

27_11                     27_12

In the year 1745 all hell broke loose in Europe. At the beginning of the year  Britain , Dutch Republic, Austria and Saxon signed anti Prussian Quadruple Alliance. Consequently, when France invaded Austrian southern part of the Netherlands (Belgium), the Alliance  tried to counter the French intrusion. Initially, with little success. The combined army was repeatedly beaten by the French and many important towns, Tournay, Ghent, Brugge, fell in the hands of of the French army. In Germany Frederic II, the Great, of Prussia continued to battle Austria and concluded in the end the Treaty of Dresden, obtaining most of Silesia. Only in Italy could Austria hold its own.
The print shows the bombing on all sides with a desperate Europa, although sitting calmly on the bull, but with her arm stretched for clemency to heaven.
The explanatory poem reflects the situation:
" War rages, on all sides satiated - It is pityfull, Euroop degenerated".

Summing up Europa's appearance in 12 title prints of the Europische Mercurius, Europa is representing the interests of the entire population of Europe. As such she occupies here the political dimension of Europe, rather than only its geographical meaning.

Ref: Examples from the Dutch news book Europische Mercurius, 1690-1756,, M.Gosman & J.W.Koopmans
        Nieuwsprenten in de Europische Mercurius van 1730-1733, J.W.Koopmans, Tijdschrift voor Mediageschiedenis 6, 2003, 5-27.

Present unrest in Europe gives the Europe statue in Odessa, Oekrania, special significance. Would there be a photo of the statue decorated with flowers? (See this side, page  20 and 24_YourComments2010/12, 2ndhalf)

March 1,  2014


Nicolas-Jean Hugou de Bassville, 1743-1793, was a journalist, writer and during the French Convention he became diplomat and secretary of the French delegation in Naples. Before the explosion of the French revolution he wrote in French parts of the Greek mythology, issued in 1784. He analysed it and added comments on the known epos and poems of Homer and Virgil. Concerning Europe'myth, he added a fragment of the phoenician historian De Sanchoniaton, translated in Greek by Philon Bybliusin the first century, Although there are no writings known by him.  The Phoenician writer, who was supposed to live in the period of the Trojan war, is now considered to be a forgery by Philon. Philon adhered to the doctrine of Euhemerus, which does find a historical proof in the writings of the Phoenician. In his writings are also mentioned the myth of Europe, supposed to be of Phoenician descent.


 De Bassville's comments on the Europa myth remain in the traditional explanations of his time, which are based broadly on Ovid's Metamorphoses. The 24 engravings are from Bernard Picard and les Cochins. It is likely that Bernard Picard did the Europe prent.


April 16th Antwerp


Sorry for the late date, my Lady, Tony Waterreus, passed away on the 3rd of this month.





The Chinese Lacquer Art has existed for thousand of years. It was only in the 17 and 18th century it was taken up in Europe. Very much like the effects of the confrontation with imported Chinese porcelain. The composition of Chinese lacquer origines from specific Chinese trees. In Europe the highest quality lacquer was obtained in France by  the family Martin. European lacquer was made of a combination of shellac, and resins of kopal and sandrak. After 1750 lacquer was made on a basis of oil or "peinture à huile verniepolie". Many rococo style paintings were used as an inspiration for decoration of  furniture and smaller products with this lacquer paint.


.27_14               27_15


Picture 27_14 shows a needlecase with a halfway top with tortoiseshell lining and gold mounting. In lower picture Europe is sitting on the bull. A maiden and a cupido is helping her with covering the neck of the bull with flowers. When turning the needlecase around an additional maiden shows up. The painting is said to be after the style of François Boucher. Although the half-naked Triton in Boucher's painting does not show up and the number of persons and their position are all rather free interpretations. But surely the style is rococo.

Sources are Museum für Lackkunst, Münster and an article Vernis Martin by Annemarie Klootwijk in the February issue of this year of Collect, Gent, België


The Hague, Kijkduin, 1 Mei


A versatile Dutch artist, Hariie Geelen, born in 1939, studied Dutch literature, but beside writer of books, songs, television series, mostly for the young, he became also a designer, illustrator, drawing books with cartoonstories, etc. He illustrated about all the books of the Dutch writer, Imme Dros, his wife. Amongst many others she retold and rewrote several known Greek classical stories and myths. In 2012 her 'Griekse Mythen' was published by Querido, Amsterdam-Antwerpen, Of course again illustrated by her husband, invcluding the myth of Europe.



His Europe illustration is kept very basic, no emotions, no mediterreanean influences, no flowers. The style here reflects a kind of naive art.


's Hertogenbosch,  June 1st, Pam Weiler - Gerritsen



The much debated European Parliament elections of this May, 2014, resulted in an Europa front prent of The Economist, May 31st-June 6th


In its comments, Europe is floored by the bull, representing the member states. The latter showed an upsurge of Eurosceptic parties, interpreted by the weekly as European Teaparties. Nevertheless, Europe appears to be readying herself to confront the bull again on the decision of a democratic appointment of the President of the European Commission.


June 1st, your commentator