Thursday, February 09, 2012

Map Ornamentation

The images below come from a Harvard Library exhibition from last year called: 'Going for Baroque - The Iconography of the Ornamental Map' [LINK]

"The ornamental features that may now seem little more than decorative embellishments once acted as richly nuanced symbols, analogies, and coded commentaries. This exhibit explores how decorative cartographic devices - cartouches, vignettes, figural borders, title pages, and frontispieces—could provide narrative underpinnings for the geospatial content of maps."

Note: the captions below are excerpted and you will find more information by visiting the exhibition site. Also, the names immediately below the images are the map publishers.

Schenk 1758 (map)
'Carte von Ertzgebürgischen Creysse in 
Churfurstenthum Sachssen' by Peter Schenk, 1758
"Schenk’s map of Erzgebirge (Ore Mountains), situated on the border of Saxony and Bohemia, offers a graphic tribute to a region whose economic livelihood relied on the extraction of tin, silver, cobalt, lead, and other metals. [..]

The instruments at the top of the sheet provide reassurance about the accuracy of the cartographic content."

Reelant 1740 (historical map)
'Imperium Japonicum' by Adriaan Reelant, 1740
"Adriaan Reelant (Reland), professor of oriental languages at the University of Utrecht, created this map of Japan’s 66 provinces from a variety of sources [..]

In Tokugawa Japan (1603-1868), contact with Europeans was strictly limited to trade with the Dutch East India Company—and only through the port of Nagasaki. [..]

The cultural uniqueness of Japan is emphasized by the Sino-Japanese characters identifying the provinces, the noble crests (including the triple hollyhock flowers of the Tokugawa clan), and the images of the samurai, palanquin, and pagoda."

'Going for Baroque - Japan Map' [from Harvard College Library channel]

"In the seventeenth century, the Netherlands was actively engaged in exploration, colonization, and trade throughout all regions of the globe, and Dutch publishers were busy keeping up with a growing internal demand for travel accounts, illustrations, and maps. This map of Japan, published for the first time in 1715, shows one of Holland's newest commercial partners."

Homann 1718
'Topographische Vorstellung der neuen russischen Haupt-Residenz 
und See-Stadt St. Petersburg' by Johann Baptist Homann, 1718

"When Homann published his map of St. Petersburg, this city on the shores of the Gulf of Finland was a work-in-progress, founded in 1703 by Tsar Peter I to open Russian access to Western Europe via the Baltic Sea. [..]

The cartouche represents a graphic apotheosis of Tsar Peter, whose portrait is surrounded by allegorical figures representing a broad range of the arts and sciences promoted during his reign - including geography, astronomy, history, mathematics, navigation, poetry, geometry, and engineering."
"This is one of the first published maps of St. Petersburg. The hexagonal Peter-Paul fortress is depicted at the center; the similarly fortified Admiralty is across and downriver from it. Vasilevskii Island (left), only just being settled at the time, shows the plan for its “regular” development drawn up for Peter the Great by the Swiss-Italian Domenico Trezzini (ca. 1670–1734), the first architect of St. Petersburg."

example of baroque map with ornamentation
'Novissima Totius Terrarum Orbis Tabula' by Nicholas Visscher, 1690

"A double hemisphere world map invites graphic embellishments that take advantage of the sheet’s marginal curved spaces. Designers often responded to this challenge by including celestial charts or polar projections in the central sections. The other margins could serve as the arena for illustrating religious, cosmological, or astrological themes. [..]

The two figures at the intersection of the hemispheres represent the triumph of Christianity over pagan idolatry."

Visscher 1652
'America Novo Descriptio' by Nicholas Visscher, 1752

"[T]he views and figures are primarily drawn from Theodore de Bry’s illustrations in his collections of travel accounts. De Bry himself never set foot in the Americas, but he had access to numerous accounts by European travelers and explorers, including those acknowledged on the borders of the map: Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, and four circumnavigators (Ferdinand Magellan, Francis Drake, Thomas Cavendish, and Olivier van Noort)."

('America Novo Descriptio' is modelled after earlier maps by Willem Blaeu and Pieter van der Keere)

De Fer 1713
'Carte de la Mer du Sud et de la Mer du Nord..' by Nicolas de Fer, 1713

"De Fer’s map of the Americas offers an iconographic feast of imagery for those trying to grasp the implications of European colonial intrusion into societies whose “otherness” was their most defining feature. The map seems to suggest both economic opportunities (resources to exploit) and cultural clashes (among peoples whose customs, rites, and mores were so vastly different). The decorative vignettes are adapted from illustrations in various accounts of the first European encounters in the New World."

(Herman Moll incorporated the scene with the beavers {the scene in the top left panel above, next to the corner panel}  in his 1715 map of North American British colonies)

Suetter 1760
'Plan tres exact et vüe de la ville, baye, et des nouvelles 
fortifications de Gibraltar..' by Albert C Suetter, 1760

"Spain formally recognized British rule of Gibraltar in the Treaty of Utrecht (1713) but, throughout the 18th century, periodically sought to reassert its territorial claims. The cartouche presents a graphic argument for an end to hostilities by featuring Mercury with his caduceus (the staff of entwined serpents, which symbolized commerce) and a cornucopia (horn of plenty). Whatever is decided by the human arbiters of destiny, the sea (Neptune) will continue to determine the fate of ships sailing through the Pillars of Hercules."

Hondius 1663 map
'Nova et exacta tabula geographica Salae et Castellaniae Iprensis' 
by a member of one of the Hondius families of Flanders, 1663

"This carte-à-figures originally appeared in 'Flandria Illustrata' (1641-1644), a work by Antonius Sanderus, a theologian and historian whose descriptions of Flemish cities and towns are enlivened with numerous plans and views, including detailed depictions of monuments, abbeys, convents, and châteaux. [..]

This map of Ieper (Ypres) [..] celebrate[s] the rich architectural heritage of Flanders."

Cambridgeshire - elaborate John Speed proof map
'Cambridgeshire' by John Speed, ~1610

"John Speed admitted that he borrowed liberally from other cartographers (or as he phrased it, “I have put my Sickle into other mens Corne and have laid my Building upon other mens Foundations”)

[F]or the ornamental features, [Speed] employed stylistic features that he particularly admired in Dutch mapmakers (including Jodocus Hondius, who engraved the plates)."
"Cambridgshire deſcribed with the deviſion of the hundreds, the Townes ſituation, with the Armes of the Colleges of that famous Vniuerſiti. And alſo the Armes of all ſuch Princes and noble men as haue heertofore borne the honorable tytles & dignities of the Earldome of Cambridg."
[the Cambridgeshire map above is one that I prepared earlier]

De Ram 1690
'Amsteldam' by Johannes de Ram, 1690

"When Johannes de Ram designed this map in the late 17th century, Amsterdam was the center of a global trading network and the wealthiest city in the world. De Ram takes great pains to emphasize the magnitude of the city’s achievements. [..]

The vignette of the busy harbor illustrates a city hosting sailing ships from every corner of the world. Accompanied by putti engaged with a plumb line, nautical charts, globe, compass, cross staff, and anchor, Mercury (instantly recognizable by his winged helmet and caduceus) symbolizes the commerce, efficiency, and spirit of adventure that made the Netherlands such a formidable maritime power."

Nolin 176
'Le Globe Terrestre Représenté en Deux 
Plans-Hémisphères..' by Jean Baptiste Nolin, 1767

"Nolin’s world map [ presented] in the context of a biblical narrative stretching back to the beginnings of the universe. [..]

The narrative panels conclude with the giving of thanks after the Ark settled atop Mount Ararat (prominently featured on the map southwest of the Black Sea)."

IN: 'Art and Cartography: Six Historical Essays' 1987, edited by David Woodward.


Unknown said...

I raise you one "going for Baroque" and give you one "carte diem." Otherwise, the "America Novo Descriptico" fascinates me.

Luka said...

<3 these maps! :)

Libby said...

Wow! They don't make 'em like this any more. Can you imagine going on mapquest and finding this?!?!? Come to think of it, that would be great!

kathryn.rodrigues said...

Thanks so much for putting together this post, as an artist I draw a ton of inspiration from the language of maps and this was a goldmine of information!

eventhird said...

I received this wonderful book recently, called Cities of the World. It features many many maps like this. This post inspires me to scan some images from the book. I have a soft spot in my heart for old maps and such.

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