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Maps of the British Isles

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Anglia II
Sebastian Munster. "Anglia II. Nova Tabula." From Sebastian Munster's edition of Geographia. Basel: Henric Petri, 1552. Fourth edition. Woodcut. Decorative woodblock on verso attributed to Hans Holbein. Shirley: 55.

In 1540, cartographer Sebastian Munster issued his version of Claudius Ptolemy's Geographia. This work contained maps of the different parts of the world as understood by Ptolemy, the librarian at Alexandria, Egypt ca. 150 A.D.. At the same time that he recognized Ptolemy's work by reissuing his maps directly, Munster also added a number of "modern" maps, reflecting the new knowledge gleaned of the world in the intervening fourteen centuries. These "new" maps issued by Munster reflect the most up-to-date information available in Europe, for Munster was a assiduous collector of geographic data at the various bookfairs in northern Europe and through his correspondence with other learned men of the time. This map of England is particularly good of its subject, containing around 80 named towns, rivers, and other topographical features, many of these shown for the first time on this map. As Rodney Shirley states, it was "substantially in advance of any others printed hitherto." (Early Printed Maps of the British Isles, p. 28) The map is "oriented," that is east is at the top, and it covers all of England, Wales, and parts of Scotland and Ireland. The source material for Munster's map is unknown, though it is thought that he had access to some form of the famous Gough map. There are few map available to the collector of equal interest and historic import. $1,400

William Smith. "Brightstovve, vulgo; quondam venta, floretissimum Angliae Emporium." [Bristol] Cologne: Georg Braun & Frans Hogenberg, [1588]. From Civitates Orbis Terrarum. Volume III. 13/ 1/4 x 17 1/8. Engraving. Original hand color. French text on verso.

A lovely bird's eye view of "Brightstowe" (Bristol) from Braun and Hogenberg's Civitates Orbis Terrarum, one of the most important works from the early days of modern cartography and topographical illustration. Braun, the editor, and Hogenberg, the engraver, worked for over twenty years to produce their "towns of the world," the first systematic depiction of views of cities throughout the world. This work, issued in six volumes from 1572 to 1617, was a monumental piece of Renaissance learning and was designed to complement Ortelius' Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, the first modern atlas. These two atlases, both firsts of their type, were in response to a new interest in the nature of the world by the Western European population. This nascent interest was spurred both by the existence of a growing middle class and the relatively new general availability of printed books.

This fine view is an excellent example of the content of one of the greatest of these volumes. It provides a bird's eye view of this important western English city drawn by William Smith in 1568. It shows the town situated on both sides of the Avon River, graphically protected by embracing city walls, a castle and water. Some development, with houses and churches, is shown outside the city walls, along with farm land and representative sheep. The latter images reflect the fact that Bristol was an important city for the British wool trade. Three figures in Elizabethan dress are depicted on the left in the foreground. $950
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British Isles
"Nuova Descrittione Dell'Isole Britannice" (England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland). From Geografia cioe Descrittione Universale della Terra. Venice: Gio. Battista & Giorgio Galignani Fratelli. 1598. Copper engraving 5 1/2 x 7. Sheet 11 5/8 x 8. Hand color. Very good condition.

Born in Padua and educated in Bologna, Giovanni Antonio Magini (1555-1617) was a mathematician, cartographer and astronomer. In 1596 in Cologne he published a Latin translation of Ptolemy's Geographia.

This page is from the first edition of Magini's work in Italian, translated by Leonardo Cernotti and published in Venice by the Galignani Brothers. $300

Speed: Channel Islands
John Speed. "Holy Island" and "Garnsey" and "Farne" and "Jarsey." From Theatre of the Empire of Great Britiaine. London: John Sudbury and George Humble, 1611. 14 3/4 x 20 (neat lines) plus margins. Engraving by Jodocus Hondius. Some chips from margins. Repaired tears in upper right corner and along left side. Stains in upper corners. Professionally conserved after having rough former wear. Ref.: The Counties of Great Britain by Alisdair Hawkyard, pp. 205-208.

Speed is best known for his important Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine, which has been called the supreme achievement in British map-making. Speed spent over 15 years assembling the information for this atlas, which was first issued in 1611 by John Sudbury and George Humble. It is one of the most influential atlases of the British Isles ever published. The atlas contains maps of the entire British Isles, the individual nations, and separate maps for the counties. These maps were primarily based on the work of Christopher Saxton and John Norden, but Speed updated information where possible and he added new cartographic features such as town plans and indications of the hundreds, making his maps the most detailed and up-to-date of their time. Speed's maps are some of the most appealing cartographic images ever produced. He included intricate calligraphy, coats-of-arms, town plans, small profiles of important buildings, vignettes of battles, fancy compass roses, figures of local inhabitants, cherubs, and many other attractive features.

Once part of the realm of Normandy, fifteen miles off Cotentin, these islands were administered by the Tudor and Stuart kings. They retained their French laws and language and were never of great strategic importance for Great Britain. They did provide observation posts in many wars and had some economic products such as fishing. Greater detail is here provided for the two largest island, Guernsey and Jersey, with Sark, Herne and Iethou included on the Guernsey map. Typical of all Speed's maps these show buildings such as windmills and houses, and on Jersey the parish churches. A first edition of this map. $475

Huntington Shire
Joan Blaeu. "Huntingdonensis Comitatus, Huntington Shire." Amsterdam : J. Blaeu, [1645] 15 x 19 1/2. Engraving. Lovely, original hand color. Laid on board, otherwise very good condition.

The Blaeu cartographic firm of Amsterdam was started by Willem Blaeu at the beginning of the sixteenth century. The firm soon grew to become the largest and most important cartographic publishing firms in the world, run by his sons Cornelis (until his death in 1642) and Joan. The maps issued by the Blaeu firm are known for their fine engraving, coloring and design, and have been called "the highest expression of Dutch cartographic art." This beautiful map of Huntintonshire is typical of the work of the Blaeu's, with clear topographical information as well as profuse decorative elements. The basic cartographic information is derived from Speed's map, but presented with typical Blaeu elegance and decorative flourishes. $400
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British Isles Miniature
"Britannicarum Insularum Typus." 17th century. 4 3/4 x 4 7/8. Engraving. Stain in top margin; trimmed to neat line and small chip at bottom. Folds as issued. Else very good condition.

A charming miniature map of the British Isles, with North at the right. $225

Bonne: British Isles
Rigobert Bonne. "Carte des Isles Britanniques contenant les Royaumes D'Angleterre, D'Ecosse et D'Irlande." From Bonne's Atlas de toutes les parties connues du Globe Terrestre. Paris, 1780. 12 3/4 x 8 1/2. Engraving by André. Very good condition.

Rigobert Bonne was the Royal Hydrographer of France, so his primary interest was in marine charts. However, with his Royal connections and access to the cartographic documents in Paris, Bonne was able to compile maps containing some of the most up-to-date information of his time. This map of Great Britain is a good example of his work. The counties, cities, rivers, and other information along the coast are clearly presented. A good picture of the country near the end of the eighteenth century. $150

Dunn: British Isles
Samuel Dunn. "The British Isles, Comprehending Great Britain and Ireland with the Adjacent Islands by Samuel Dunn, Mathematician." London: Robert Sayer, 1786. 17 1/8 x 12 1/2. Engraving. Original hand color. Some marginal spotting, and light staining along center fold, but overall very good condition.

A handsome map of the British Isles 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." Topography and political features are precisely engraved, and rivers and lakes also. Overall, a fine example of British map-making from a period of growing world-wide power by the nation. $275

Thomas Ewing. "Scotland." From Ewing's New General Atlas. Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd, ca. 1830. 9 1/2 x 7 3/8. Engraving by J.& G. Menzies. Original hand color. Very good condition.

One of a group of rare maps from Thomas Ewing's New General Atlas. Ewing issued a number of editions of this fine quarto atlas in the first part of the nineteenth century, containing attractive maps of countries around the world. Published in Ediburgh, the maps were precisely engraved by J.& G. Menzies, who were noted engravers who worked for a number of publishers. The maps contain good detail and careful hatchuring to graphically represent topography. Hand coloring adds a nice flourish to these maps, which are good examples of British mapmaking at a time when it dominated the cartographic world. $125
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Gardner: England & Wales ...
W.R. Gardner. "New and Improved Map of England and Wales, including the Principal part of Scotland whereon are carefully Delineated all the Mail and Turnpike Roads Direct and Cross." London: William Darton, 1831. 29 x 24 1/4. Engraved by W.R. Gardner. Folding map with original hand color delineating counties. Dissected into 24 sections and mounted on linen. Folds into the original slipcase, with the publisher's green printed title label "England." on the case which matches cloth panels on the folded end sections. Very good condition.

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. 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, with its clear detail, is a fine example of a Darton separately issued map. $450

Thomas Moule. "Dorsetshire." From The English Counties Delineated. London: George Virtue, 1837. Engraving with original hand color. 8 x 10. Trimmed slightly at left. Else, very good condition.

A map of Dorsetshire from probably the most attractive of the nineteenth century series of British county maps. Included are vignettes of scenes, buildings, coats-of-arms, and monuments reflecting more than just the topography of the county depicted. It is maps like these which make collecting British county maps so satisfying. $85
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James Gilbert. "Gilbert's New Map of England & Wales, drawn from the best authorities." London: Collins, 1849. 32 x 25 3/4. Separately issued, folding map: dissected into 24 sections and mounted on linen. Steel engraving. Original hand color. Slightly browned, but very good condition. Folding into original cloth case. Case rubbed.

A very detailed transportation map of England as the Industrial Revolution went into high gear. Roads, railroads, and steamship lines are shown in abundance. An unusual feature is a "Comparative Chart of the Navigation of the Principal Rivers" which shows the length to which one can pilot a boat. $375

J.H. Colton. "The Environs of London." New York: G.W. & C.B. Colton & Co, 1855. 11 x 13 3/4 plus decorative border. Lithograph. Very good condition.

In the mid-nineteenth century, the center of map publishing in America moved from Philadelphia to New York. The Colton publishing firm played a large role in this shift. This map of London and outlying suburbs, with its fine detail, is a strong example of their successful work. Of particular interest are the indications of the burgeoning transportation networks, with roads and railroads clearly shown. Typical to the period it has a decorative, Victorian border. An attractive map as well as a worthwhile historical document. $140

John Dower, F.R.G.S. "London Guide to the International Exhibition 1862." From Supplement to The Illustrated London News. London: The Illustrated London News, May 24, 1862. 29 1/2 x 42. Engraved by John Dower. Original hand color. With folds as issued, some repairs on verso along folds. Very good condition.

A large, attractive map of London which highlights the International Exhibition held in 1862 in South Kensington, adjacent to the Royal Horticultural Society's Gardens. Folding maps often do not survive in the long term, as they wear out and tear with opening and folding multiple times. This is a nice example in good to very good condition, given its size and age. $500

"Tunison's Ireland." Jacksonville, Illinois: H.C. Tunison, 1885. Wax engraving. Original color. 12 1/2 x 9 3/4. Very good condition. Map of France on verso.

A handsome map of Ireland from Tunison's Peerless Universal Atlas. With the development of wax engraving (cerography), more maps and atlases were able to be produced in cities beyond the major centers of New York, Philadelphia and Chicago. Henry C. Tunison issued a series of fine atlases beginning in 1885 and lasting into the beginning of the twentieth century. This is a nice example of his output, showing Ireland with bright colors indicating the counties. $55

"Bartholomew's Street Index Plan of London, North West Section, Showing the Postal Districts." Edinburgh: John Bartholomew & Son, Ltd., n.d. Folding map, 34 1/4 x 41 1/2.

This 20th century map of the northwest section of London, from Cleopatra's Needle west through Southall and north to Barnet and Oxhey, is on a scale of 3.4 inches to a mile, has half-mile sections delineated, and shows the postal areas as well.

Bartholomew's was begun by George B. Bartholomew (1784-1871) as an engraving firm. Five generations of the family operated the cartographic company, ending with John B. Bartholomew (1890-1960). The firm was acquired by Reader's Digest Publications in 1990. $45


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