1761 Insulae Islandiae, delineation, prout haec Solenni mensurandi negotio sub Auspicus Potentissimi Regis Daniae…

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By: Homann Heirs

Date: 1761 (Published) Nuremberg

Dimensions: 17.75 x 23.25 (45 cm x 59 cm)

This rare and spectacular map of Iceland was published 1761 in Nuremberg by the Heirs of Homann. The map was compiled according to Danish surveys, and lovers of Icelandic sagas will recognize many of the sites depicted. The map is more scientific than many previous similar versions. Many of the countless volcanoes which populate the island are depicted and named, as are Iceland’s many fjords. Regional boundaries are marked and all cities, towns and settlements are included. The topographical details of the mountainous regions of the map create a strong image of the ruggedness of the island. Major rivers and other waterways are included, and roads for travelling throughout the country are delineated. Explanatory details in the lower right quadrant of the map are in Latin, as is the title.

As interesting as the map itself is its maker, Johann Baptist Homann (20 March 1664 – 1 July 1724), the most prominent map publisher of the 18th century. Born in a small town in Bavaria, as a young man Homann studied in a Jesuit school, and considered the priesthood before converting to Protestantism in 1687. Following his conversion he moved to Nuremberg where he worked as a notary. A few years later he relocated to Vienna, where he lived and studied printing and copper plate engraving for two years. On his return to Nuremberg he founded the publishing firm which would bear his name. Within a short time Homann had published hundreds of maps and developed his own distinctive style of heavily detailed engraving, elaborate allegorical cartouche work, and vivid hand color. Due to lower publication costs in Germany, Homann’s firm was able to significantly undercut the French and Dutch publishing houses while at the same time matching the diversity and quality of their output. In 1715 Homann was appointed Imperial Cartographer to the Holy Roman Emperor Charles the VI, and was named a member of the Royal Academy of Sciences in Berlin. His prestigious titles provided numerous important advantages including access to the most up to date cartographic information as well as the ‘Privilege’, which was a type of early copyright granted by the Emperor to individuals he found deserving.

The honours awarded during Homann’s lifetime add increased value to his maps. On his death, his son Johann Christoph inherited the business. Perhaps sensing that he would not outlive his father by long, his will stated that following his death all maps printed from the family plates would be printed under the name Homann Heirs, a tradition which would continue till the firm finally closed in 1848. 

Condition: This map with original hand coloring is in A condition, a strong imprint on heavy paper.

Inventory #10882

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