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Antique Maps of Scandinavia

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Ortelius: Iceland
Abraham Ortelius. "Islandia." From Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. Antwerp: Aegidius Coppen Diesth, [1587]. 13 3/4 x 18 1/2 (neat lines) plus full margins. Engraving. Latin text on back. Fine hand color. Very good condition. Denver.

One of the most desirable of all Dutch maps from the sixteenth century, Abraham Ortelius' famous map of Iceland. It was issued in 'the first modern atlas,' Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, ('Theater of the World'). The publication of this atlas marked an epoch in the history of cartography, for it is the first uniform and systematic collection of maps of the whole world based only on contemporary knowledge since the days of Ptolemy. In the sixteenth century there was a great increase in interest in maps and charts, and Ortelius, as a businessman with a passion for history and cartography, was at the forefront in meeting this demand. Through his collecting and his antiques business, Ortelius was able to research contemporary maps, becoming the greatest expert of his day in the bibliography of maps. Ortelius based his work on the best maps available, drawing all the maps himself with the celebrated Frans Hogenberg cutting most of the plates. Unlike other atlas-makers, Ortelius cited the authors of the original maps from which he compiled his work. Thus it is not only for his unprecedented achievement in issuing the first modern atlas, but also for his thoughtful and rigorous methodology, that Ortelius belongs amongst the first rank of cartographers. He is very aptly called 'the father of modern cartography.'

This map of Iceland is one of Ortelius' most famous maps because it is as decorative as any map issued in the sixteenth century, or for that matter, ever. It shows the volcano Mt. Hekla erupting, a herd of polar bears on ice floes, and sea monsters teeming in the surrounding waters. These are identified on the verso of the map, making this a contemporary compendium of "known" sea monsters (cf. accompanying sheet). $9,500

Maps of Denmark by Gerard Mercator

Maps from the Mercator-Hondius Atlas. Amsterdam: Jodocus Hondius, 1609. Engravings. Full original color. Fine condition.

Gerard Mercator (1512-1594) ranks as one of the greatest cartographers in history, not only for the extremely fine maps he produced, but also for the innovations which he introduced into cartographic science. His most famous invention was a map projection, the "Mercator projection," where a straight line on the map followed a single compass bearing, a feature extremely important for navigation. Through his constant accumulation of new geographic and cosmological data, Mercator was able to produce the most accurate and current maps of his day, which unlike most of his contemporaries' maps were mostly original work. His maps not only are excellent cartographically, but they are aesthetically superb as well, with beautiful cartouches, silken seas and other exquisite ornamentation. Such was his influence that the title Mercator chose for his collection of maps, "Atlas," has now become the generic name for all such volumes. The following maps are fine examples of his work, with beautiful, bright original color.

Blaeu Iceland
Willem Blaeu after Juris Carolus. "Tabula Islandiae." Amsterdam: Joan Blaeu, 1672+. 15 x 19 1/2. Engraving. Full original hand color. Wide margins. Very good condition. Spanish text on verso. Koeman: 1250:2:2.

A fascinating and wonderfully decorative map of Iceland by Willem (Guilielmus) Janszoon Blaeu based on the work of Juris Carolus. The maps issued by the Blaeu firm are known for their fine craftsmanship and design, and have been called "the highest expression of Dutch cartographical art." It was based by Blaeu upon a map made by Joris Carolus, a Dutch traveler who probably drew his map in the 1620s. Carolus based his rendering on Iceland Bishop Gudbrandur Thorlaksson's map drawn originally in the late sixteenth century. Carolus updated his map and it remained the standard map of Iceland for much of the seventeenth century. Versions were issued by several publishers and this example, by Blaeu, is probably the most desirable of them all. $1,400

DeWit Denmark
Frederick De Wit. "Dania Regnum.". Amsterdam: F. de Wit, ca. 1680. 19 3/4 x 22 3/4. Engraving. Full original color. Very good condition. Denver.

A lovely seventeenth-century map of Scandanavia by Frederick de Wit. De Wit followed in the footsteps of the earlier Dutch cartographic publishers Jansson and Blaeu, and, like them, he issued maps known for their beautiful engraving and hand coloring. Detail on the map is dense and quite accurate, though it is for the aesthetic features that these maps most shine. With a terrific title cartouche featuring two wild and semi-naked Danes and sheep, cows and a horse. $650

John Senex. "Denmark." London: J. Senex, 1708-1725. 26 1/4 x 38. Engraving. Full original hand color. Narrow margin at bottom, torn just into image in lower left corner-not affecting topographical detail. Otherwise, very good condition.

A very large map of Denmark by John Senex, one of the best of the early eighteenth century British cartographers. With its large size, the map has much detail and, with its lovely color and decorative cartouche, a handsome appearance. $550

Maps issued by Homann Heirs
Nuremberg, ca. 1740-93.

Homan Sweden Engravings. Full original hand color. All double folio, ca. 19 x 22. Narrow, but full margins. Very good condition, except as noted. A few with manuscript underlining of names in old ink.

Johann Baptist Homann (1663-1724) was one of the most important German cartographers of eighteenth century, and his firm was carried on by his son Johann Christoph (1701-1730), and then the 'Homann Heirs' from 1730 until 1813. The maps issued by all the firms had the same style, with strong engraving, bold hand coloring, and elaborate uncolored cartouches. These maps of parts of Scandinavia are a visual delight, with much information and attractive cartouches.



Samuel Dunn. "The Northern States, Comprehending the Kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden by Samuel Dunn, Mathematician." London: Robert Sayer, 1786. 12 1/8 x 17 1/4. Engraving. Original color. Very good condition. Denver.

A handsome British map of Scandinavia by Samuel Dunn (d. 1794). Besides being a mapmaker, Dunn was a sometimes publisher of maps and atlases, a mathematician, and teacher, who advertised his profession as "S. Dunn Teacher of the Mathematicks London. Boards Young Gentlemen, & Teacheth Penmanship, Merch'ts Acc'ts, Navigation, Fortification, Astronomy &c. Chelsea." Dunn's mathematical inclinations are demonstrated on the precision of this fine map. Topography and political features are precisely engraved, with rivers and lakes also. Overall, a fine example of British map-making from a period when the nation's world-wide power was growing. $250

L.S. Delarochette. "Scandia or Scandinavia." London : William Faden, February 10, 1794. Separately issued, folding map: dissected into 16 sections and mounted on linen. Engraving by W. Faden. Original outline color. Strong impression. Very good condition.

A typically impressive political map of Scandinavia by the Geographer to the King, William Faden. Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark are shown with excellent detail of topography, towns, roads, and political divisions. A lovely title cartouche graces the top left corner, containing images related to the area, including fishermen and a variety of fish, waterfalls and woods, and in the background a sled being pulled by a reindeer. $525

John Cary. "A New Map of Sweden, Denmark and Norway, from the Latest Authorities." London: J. Cary, 1801. Engraving. 18 x 20 1/4. Full original hand color. Very good condition.

A detailed map of Scandinavia by John Cary (ca. 1754-1835), the founder of the famous English cartographic firm. From about mid-way through the eighteenth century, British cartographers were the best in the world, and the maps produced by Cary are good examples of the quality they achieved. Detail is copious and precisely delineated, including mountains, roads, rivers, towns, lakes and political divisions. Cary also gives a scale in Swedish and Danish Miles, British Statute Miles and Common French Leagues. Each region has outline color in a contrasting pastel shade, which makes this a crisp, attractive map. Overall, this is a fine map from the beginning of the nineteenth century. $450

John Cary. "A New Map of the Kingdom of Denmark, Comprehending North and South Jutland, Zeeland, Fyen, Laaland, and Part of Holstein from the Latest Authorities." London: J. Cary, 1801. Engraving. 18 x 20 1/4. Full original hand color. Very good condition.

Another nice map by John Cary, featuring just Denmark. $375

William Darton, Jr. "Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland." From Atlas to Walker's Geography. London: Vernor and Hood, etc., 1802. 7 1/4 x 8 1/2. Engraving. Original outline color. With some stains. Otherwise, very good condition. With inset of Iceland.

William Darton, Sr. started his mapmaking business in 1787 in London, and thus began a cartographic publishing house that would last, in various manifestations, until the 1860s. William Darton, Jr. joined his father late in the eighteenth century and these are maps engraved by him for Walker's Geography. While not large, the maps contain an impressive amount of detail carefully presented. The information used was the best available in London at the beginning of the nineteenth century, meaning the best in the world, so these maps are not only attractive, but provide an excellent cartographic picture of the world at the time. This map of Scandinavia, with its clear detail of settlements and topography, is a good example of Darton's work. $150
GoGo to page with other maps by William Darton

"Denmark (including its) German Dominions." From Robert Wilkinson's General Atlas of the World, Quarters, Empires, Kingdoms, States etc. with Appropriate Tables. (London, 1812) London: Richard Wilkinson, 1808. 11 5/8 x 8 5/8. Engraving. Original hand color. Very good condition.

A typically detailed and neat map of Denmark from a British atlas of the early nineteenth century. With the hand color and precise engraving, the map is decorative as well as historically interesting. $75

Mathew Carey. "Sweden, Denmark, and Norway." Philadelphia: M. Carey, 1818. 15 1/4 x 12 5/8. Engraving by Kneass, Young & Co. Original outline color. Excellent condition.

Mathew Carey issued a number of atlases and in each he updated his depictions where possible. This is from Carey's last atlas and it shows a considerably improved depiction of the region from his first map of two decades before. While perhaps a bit less polished than the contemporary British maps, this is a map which is equal in terms of cartographic information and precision. $150

Morse Scandinavia
Jedidiah & Sidney Morse. "Denmark, Sweden and Norway."
From A New Universal Atlas of the World. New Haven: Howe & Spalding, 1822. 9 1/2 x 7 3/4. Engraving. Handsome original hand color. Very good condition.

Jedidiah Morse, the father of Samuel F.B. Morse, established himself in the 1780s as one of the leading American producers of maps. This map shows the quality of his work, for it is an excellent and attractive map from the early days of American cartography. $95

Finley Scandinavia
Anthony Finley. "Denmark, Sweden, and Norway." From A New General Atlas. Philadelphia: A. Finley, 1825. 11 x 8 3/8. Engraving by Young & Delleker. Full original hand-color. Very good condition.

Early in the nineteenth century, Anthony Finley was a great popularizer of maps out of Philadelphia and one of the leading cartographic publishers in America. His copper engraved maps are noted for their crisp appearance and interesting detail. This map of Scandinavia demonstrates that the American mapmakers were approaching the quality of their European counterparts. The bright hand color makes this map as attractive as it is informative. $80

Maps by The Society For The Diffusion Of Useful Knowledge

London: SDUK, 1830-1843. All approximately 12 x 15 in. Steel engravings. Original outline handcolor. Very good condition.

These detailed and clearly drawn maps were "Published under the Superintendence of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge." This wonderful enterprise was devoted to the spreading of up-to-date information and the enhancing of understanding. These maps are decorative and informative.

"Sweden and Norway." Boston: S. Walker, ca. 1832. 9 1/2 x 7 3/4. Engraving by R. Campbell. Very good condition.

A detailed and small map of Scandinavia engraved in Philadelphia and issued in Boston around 1832. Lots of detail is given, quite neatly presented. $45

Burr Scandinavia
David H. Burr. "Denmark Sweden & Norway." From Universal Atlas. New York: Thomas Illman, 1833. 12 1/2 x 10 1/2. Engraving. Full original color. Very good condition.

An excellent map of Scandinavia by David H. Burr, one of the most important American cartographers of the first part of the nineteenth century. Having studied under Simeon DeWitt, Burr produced the second state atlas issued in the United States, of New York in 1829. He was then appointed to be geographer for the U.S. Post Office and later geographer to the House of Representatives. As a careful geographer, Burr is painstaking in this map to put in only information for which he felt there was a scientific basis. Burr's maps are scarce and quite desirable. $125

Thomas, Cowperthwait & Co. of Philadelphia

Philadelphia: Thomas, Cowperthwait & Co., 1850. Lithographic transfer from engraved plates. Full original color. Very good condition.

Strong, boldly colored maps from Philadelphia at mid-nineteenth century, produced by Thomas, Cowperthwait & Co. Their maps were some of the last ones issued in Philadelphia. Topographical information is clearly presented and towns, roads, rivers, islands, an such are named. Political divisions are indicated with contrasting pastel shades.

John Tallis & Co. of London

From Tallis' Illustrated Atlas London: John Tallis & Co., [1851]. Ca. 12 1/2 x 9 3/4. Map drawn and engraved by J. Rapkin. Illustrations drawn by J. Marchant and engraved by J.H. Kernot. Original outline color. Very good condition.

Beginning in 1851, John Tallis & Co. issued their Illustrated Atlas, which contained maps of all parts of the world. These detailed maps are particularly known for their decorative borders and the small, finely engraved vignettes of local scenes. This map is no exception, containing several vignettes showing scenes from the countries. Includes an interesting vignette of Norwegian policemen on skis. All in all, a very decorative and informative map of the nations.

G.W. & C.B. Colton of New York

New York: G.W. & C.B. Colton. [1855]-1856. Lithographs. With decorative border. Full original hand color. Very good condition.

Around the middle of the nineteenth century, the center of American mapmaking moved from Philadelphia, with its large population of engravers, to New York City, where lithography was flourishing. There a number of firms, including those of S. Augustus Mitchell, Jr., J.H. Colton, and A.J. Johnson, issued atlases filled with maps produced with lithography and hand coloring by stencil. These maps were quite accurate and because of the nature of the medium, could be regularly updated. The medium also allowed for a more attractive means of presenting topography, making these maps attractive as well as interesting.

Charles Desilver of Philadelphia

Philadelphia: Charles Desilver, 1856. Lithograph. Original hand color. Very good condition. With decorative border.

Charles Desilver, one of the many publishers working in Philadelphia during the mid-nineteenth century, issued an atlas of maps based on the famous Tanner-Mitchell-Cowperthwait series. Desilver used much the same information as originally drawn in the 1840s, but updated the maps with new roads, towns, and other information. These maps are typical of the rather unusual and scarce Desilver atlas. Attractive and fascinating documents of these countries.


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©The Philadelphia Print Shop, Ltd. Last updated October 6, 2014