Articles about mapping
We hope you enjoy the following readings. Please return often
as we ad articles on a regular base.
||Cartographical curiosities, mythical Islands & odyties..
When reading maps, we expect map makers to use standard conventions, especially in regard to projection, orientation, scale, and symbols. When a map maker does not use generally-accepted practices, we ask why? What is the story the map maker is trying to tell?
The Leo Belgius and the Pegasus map by Bünting are likely the most welknown cartographic curiosities. The auction samples a few items.
Willem Janszoon Blaeu
(1571-1638) founded one of history's greatest cartographic publishing
firms in 1599.The Blaeu family has
its origin in the island of Wieringen, where about 1490, Willem Jacobsz.,
alias Blauwe Willem the grandfather of Willem Jansz. Blaeu was born.
From the marriage of Willem Jacobsz. and Anna Jansd. sprang six
children. The sond son, Jan Willemsz. (1527- before 1589) was the father
of Willem Jansz Blaeu, who continued the family tradition by practising
the trade of herring packer. In his second marrariage with Stijntge.
Willem Jansz Blaeu was born in 1571.
Blaeu moved in 1598/9 from Alkmaar to Amsterdam and set up a shop selling globes, seaman's instruments and maps. In 1605 he moved to the nowadays called Damrak, where most of the Amsterdam booksellers and mapmakers were established at that time. The house was called 'In de Vergulde Sonnewyser' (In the gilt sundail). By 1608, he had already published a fine world map and a popular marine atlas.
His early works include a globe from 1599, and maps of European countries and a world map in 1604-1608.
||Jean Baptiste Bourguignon d'Anville
Jean Baptiste Bourguignon d'Anville was perhaps the most important and prolific cartographer of the 18th century.
He engraved his first map at the age of fifteen and produced many maps of high quality throughout his career. He became the finest cartographer of his time and carried on the French school of cartography developed by the Sanson and the de L'Isle families.
Although he apparently never left the city of Paris, he had access to the reports and maps of
French explorers, traders, and missionaries. During his long career he accumulated a large
collection of cartographic materials that has been preserved. He was particularly
interested in Asia and produced the first reasonably accurate map of China in 1735.
It is known that Thomas Jefferson acquired seven maps by d'Anville in 1787, and although the titles of the maps he acquired are not known, Jefferson must have been familiar with d'Anville's maps of North America, including "Carte de la Louisiane." In a letter to Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin relating to a newly commissioned map of North America, Jefferson discussed the use of d'Anville as a reference for the lower Mississippi basin.
Meriwether Lewis obtained a copy prior to the Lewis & Clark Expedition.
||Hand colouring of antique maps
Many antique maps were hand-coloured, but some were intended not to be. The richness of early colouring is difficult to duplicate in the present. Maps with original colouring, called contemporary colour, are quite desirable to find. Modern colouring is sometimes applied, but many collectors insist that a map should remain in its original state.
Colouring varies with old maps. When they were produced some maps were fully coloured at the time, some were partly coloured, some were coloured in outline, and many not coloured at all.
Maps were originally coloured to enhance appearance and readability. Generally three or four colours (green, pink, orange and yellow) distinguished political subdivisions, black was used for names, red coloured cathedrals or other buildings distinguish large cities and blue stands for water.
Anna WESTER STEE, also known as Anna Beek (born The Hague 25 November 1657 - died the Hague after October 1717), she was a publisher of prints.
Daughter of Frederick of Westerstee and Anna van Alphen. Anna Westerstee married at the first day of May 1678 in The Hague with Barent Beek (1654 to August 1713), who an art dealer and publisher. From this marriage were born three daughters and four sons.
Anna Beek was commissioned by Willem III of Orange, inbetween 1690 and 1700 and produced for him a collection of 10 volumes of plates. The 10 volumes are bound in richly gilded bindings and have all the Dutch Roral coat-of-arms of arms.
Mrs. Anna Beek, enlarged each of the prints and mounted them on larger paper: she coloured them in pastel colours, adding extensive clouds and brilliant yellow borders. This way of enlarging prints is also known from the famous Van der Hem/Prinz Eugen Atlas and those in the former Royal print-collection kept in Jemniste in Czechoslovakia.
||The North West Passage
Before the Little Ice Age, Norwegian Vikings sailed as far north and west as Ellesmere Island, Skraeling Island and Ruin Island for hunting expeditions and trading with the Inuit groups who already inhabited the region.
Between the end of the 15th century and the 20th century, colonial powers from
Europe dispatched explorers in an attempt to discover a commercial sea route north
and west around North America. The Northwest Passage represented a new route to the
established trading nations of Asia, as in 1493 to defuse trade disputes, Pope
Alexander VI split the discovered world in two between Spain and Portugal; thus France, the Netherlands, and England were left without a sea route to Asia, either via Africa or South America, unless their ships defied the ban and explored such waters regardless;
which they did, and the ban became unenforceable. England called the hypothetical northern route the "Northwest Passage". The desire to establish such a route motivated much of the European exploration of both coasts of North America.
||Poland historical maps..
The first cartographic images of territory of Poland have appeared in Antique time (2nd age). From then, all development of Poland cartography can be divided into stages: low accuracy (until the first half of the 16th century); general cartography (the second half of 16th century; first half of the 18th century); professional topography, modern topography, thematic cartography, modern cartography. Each period has its own characteristics in terms of repre- sentation methods, level of detail and accuracy.
The first geographical data about the territory of Poland are found in the works of Ancient Greeks and Romans. In the third book of the "Geographical Guide" by Claudius Ptolemy there is a descrip- tion of the Baltic area.
||The rivalry between the
houses of Blaeu and Hondius. - A rare atlas from 1629.
One of the most dramatic
events in the early history of commercial cartography in Amsterdam was
the sale in 1929 of circa 40 Jocodus Hondius Jr. copperplates by his
widow to Willem Jansz. Blaeu, the most important competitor of the
Blaeu replaced Jodocus Hondius Jr's name with his own on the plates and
the following year, had published them together with his own maps. His
brother Henricus Hondius, angry at the sale of plates to their
competitor, engaged engravers to cut similar plates or better and finer
and who shoot be ready within eighteen months.
Above all these Jodocus Hondius Jr. plates mark the new
engraving style and format and hereby setting the new trend in Amsterdam
whether printed or in manuscript form, often have a romantic appeal far
stronger than that of land maps. The romance of the seaman's intrepid
voyages through uncharted waters can often be sensed when examining a
Before the development of printing there was an
active chart making industry based around the Mediterranean in places
like Genoa, Venice and Majorca. From such centers manuscript 'rutters'
and 'portolans' were produced for the Mediterranean and Southern
European Atlantic coasts. Throughout the sixteenth century the
manuscript portolan, in single sheet or atlas form, was the only
relatively accurate source of navigating information.
There is something about soil maps
from the early twentieth century. Their colors seem more vivid than
those of modern maps. Even their legends are more interesting: Soil maps
were primarily created to delineate the soils of the state, they show
much more than that: They offer a glimpse of the transportation
infrastructure (steam and electric railroads, trails, ferry landings),
landscape features that may not be visible today (salt marshes, swamps,
tidal flats, escarpments, rock outcrops), and geology (stony and
gravelly areas, quarries).
||Master colourist" Dirk Jansz van Santen
In the seventeenth century, the Netherlands held a
prominent position in Europe in the production of books, maps and
Not only were the number, diversity and quality of printed works renown,
but also the "versiering" - the application of decorative graphic
elements in the colouring of maps, prints, title pages, opening and
closing vignettes, etc. Little is known about the many print and map
colourists, the 'const- en caertafzetters', who lived in the
Netherlands at the time. Since their work was usually not signed, they
have remained anonymous'. The most important exception to this rule is
Dirk Jansz van Santen.
|The mapping of Japan
The Japanese cherish a great love for
maps. Of old they adorned all kinds of objects with cartographic images
of the world, of Japan, of their town or province. Before the Japanese
came into direct contact with Europeans, they made maps that represented
the Buddhist world. In that world there were only three great cultures,
i.e. India, China, and Japan.
After the arrival of the Europeans, the Japanese realized that a much
larger world existed outside of India, China, and Japan. The world maps
created by the Flemish and Dutch cartographers like Abraham Ortelius,
Gerard Mercator, Petrus Plancius, Willem Blaeu that the Dutch brought
with them revealed what the unknown world looked like.
|Tips for prospective map collectors .
This page offers information on the
different aspects of Map collection.
Types of Collections - Factors Affecting Map value - How Condition Affects
Value - Map Colouring - How to Detect Reproductions - Storage - Reference
Materials - Storage - Custom Framing.
Little has heen published (particularly in
English) on the type of print known as the perspective view, intended
for use in an optical diagonal machine. Nevertheless these prints were
highly popular in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and still
appear regularly on the art market. lt therefore seems worth collecting
what information is known and adding what I have heen able to discover.
|Speculative bubbles - The First financial cricis.
Speculation in shares was known as the Bubble, and the
trade was known as "Wind-Handel" and "Wind-Negotie," (both meaning
Wind-Trade), because of the trader often didn't own the shares and also
tried to talk up the price. Dutch companies formed in the Bubble tended
to be local affairs, associated with the cities where they were founded.
Stock offerings were often public in name only, with local officials and
other insiders buying up most or all of the stock.
It couldn't last, of course. There was no real regulation, and instead
there was some government connivance.
|V.O.C. Dutch East India Company
It was to be the end
of the 17th century or even the beginning of the 18th before all the
West European maritime powers were represented by companies on the new
trade routes to the Far East, to which the then all-embracing term East
Indies was applied. The East Indies comprised all the new discovered
regions east of the Cape of Good Hope, which included: East Africa and
the islands along its coast, the basin of the Red Sea, India west and
east, the Malay Archipelago, China and Japan. The increase in the number
of contestants in the new mercantile traffic between Europe and Asia
made for a new equilibrium and redistributed the world into new spheres
||The history of Beads
Europeans, realized early on that beads were important
to Native Americans. The Dutch West India Company (W.I.C.) used the beads
for trading with natives in America and Africa. Corporations such as the
Hudson Bay Company and individuals such as
Stephen A. Frost> developed lucrative bead-trading markets with the
Indians. Contemporary prints exist of Indians wearing these beads. Also
the East India Company (V.O.C.) must have used them for trade as Dutch
Trade beads are also found also in Polynesia.
About Medieval Manuscripts
The medieval Book of Hours evolved out of the monastic cycle of prayer
which divided the day into eight segments, or "hours": Matins, Lauds,
Prime, Terce, Sext, Nones, Compline, and Vespers. By the early
fifteenth century, the format of the Book of Hours had developed to
satisfy the demands of private, as opposed to communal, devotion. These
portable books are smaller in format than their monastic forebears,
designed for use by individuals, with a liturgical system somewhat less
complicated than monastic liturgy and more "user-friendly."
An illuminated manuscript is a book written and decorated by hand. Its name is derived from the Latin manus meaning hand and "scriptus" meaning writing. Manuscripts which were decorated with gold, silver or bright paint are called illuminated, from the Latin "illuminare" meaning to lighten or brighten up.
ZUDA ROKASHI (Priest Hotan) - Nansenbushu bankoku shoka no zu.[Outline Map of All Countries of the Universe]
Published in Kyoto, 1710 (Hoei 7 = Year of the Tiger) by Bundaiken Uhei (fl. 1680 - 1720).
This map is a great example for Japanese world maps representing Buddhist cosmology with real world cartography. It is the earliest one and - therefore - the prototype for Buddhist world maps.
The map centred on 'Jambu-Dvipa', the mythological heart of Buddhist cosmography where Buddha was born in Northern
India with the sacred lake of Anavatapta, and the four sacred rivers Ganges, Oxus, Indus, and Tarim flowing from it,
the map extending from Ceylon to Siberia, and from Japan to the British Isles 'Country of the Western Woman',
with Europe as a group of islands, Africa figured as a small island, and a land bridge connecting China with an
unnamed continent to the East [America].
||BLAEU, Willem Janszoon (1571-1638). Pascaarte van alle de
Zécuften van EUROPA.
Amsterdam, 1621 or later, but before 1650] Blaeu's chart greatly
influenced other Amsterdam publisher's. A striking feature of the
relatively small number of paintings that comprise the ouevre of
Johannes Vermeer is the prominent place accorded to maps and globes. The
use of maps as wall hangings in contemporary Dutch houses went beyond
the desire for cartographic information. Maps were also used to express
status, to promote a better understanding of history or politics or to
take the place of paintings. Interestingly, Johannes Vermeer used this
chart in his painting The geographer ( 1669) Städel Museum,
The Liber Chronicarum or the Nuremberg Chronicle, as it is also known, is a history of the world from creation to 1493The Liber Chronicarum or the Nuremberg Chronicle, as it is also known, is a history of the world from creation to 1493.
The Liber Chronicarum was commissioned by two wealthy Nuremberg merchants and brothers in law, Sebald Schreyer and Sebastian Kammermaister. They contracted Michael Wohlgemut (1434-1519) and his stepson Wilhelm Pleydenwurff (c.1460-1494) to make the woodcuts for the book and to draw up layouts showing the setting of the type and the placement of the woodcuts. The text was supplied by Hartman Schedel (1440-1514), a physician and humanist scholar.
Perhaps the most important features of the Liber Chronicarum are its design and illustrations.