Let's hear it for cartographers. Without map-makers, who knows how we'd find our way around. But they have an easier job of it today, with most of the globe explored, charted, recorded and explored again. Early map-makers struggled against many adversities - imagine traveling to far-off lands and trying to accurately record your voyage, on tiny scale, well enough for the next ship of travellers to follow your route?
And all this before smart phones, too.
The origins of cartography are difficult to pinpoint, as the definitions of maps tend to vary widely from scholar to scholar. But from early cave paintings of geographical directions, to clay tablets originating in ancient Greece and Babylonia, humans have been using meticulous drawings as a means of recording our explorations of the world around us for thousands of years.The possibilities of wide exploration and more accurate cartography rose sharply in the 15th century, with the advent of the Gutenberg printing press, and a growing desire for trade products not commonly available worldwide. Previously, the art of map-making had been heavily intuitive and problematic to replicate or verify. It was in the 15th century that the Roman mathematician, geographer and astronomer Claudius Ptolemy's Cosmographia, originally compiled in the 2nd century AD, was translated from Greek into Latin and became Germany's first published atlas by Lienhart Holl in 1482.
Today, rare and antique maps are highly prized by collectors. Inaccuracies, changing region names and borders and previously held beliefs about the world we live in all contribute to making maps one of the most elegant ways to enjoy the history of our geography.
Please note: quantity on rare books extremely limited; copies on display may sell quickly.
Hand-colored original map of 1650 Palestine from the Mediterranean Eastward. Features a whale scene in the upper left.
An excellent set of the World and Continents, by Hondius and Jansson, two of the Netherlands' greatest cartographers.
Rhumb lines, wind compass roses, ships, and the title cartouche are all displayed with a tremendous panache and sense of style.
The decoration to the map includes: sea monsters, a Japanese junk and a Dutch galleon. This map is considered to be a milestone in Japan's cartography
Signed by Norwegian explorer of the Arctic Fridtjof Nansen, whose 1893-1896 quest to sail around Greenland and to the North Pole resulted in him abandoning his ship and continuing along by dogsled.
Splendid color map of 1594 Florida, including the Gulf of Mexico, Cuba, Yucata and more. Described in Latin. Illustrations include ships, a large fish, and sea serpents.
Used in the American Revolution by George Washington, whose copy, folded and mounted on cloth, resides at the American Geographical Society.
Mapmaker Thomas Jefferys was a London engraver who was appointed Geographer to Frederick Prince of Wales and King George III.
An Historic Map of the Roman Empire and the 'neighboring barbarous nations' - large scale, by Herman Moll.
Herman Moll's "Codfish Map", famous for its educational, large cartouche of the cod industry. Dried cod was a staple for the Royal Navy.