The show includes portraits of both as well as a half-dozen books to evoke the libraries each brought and the impact they had. Most helpful, however, are two large touchscreens, one for each map, that allow us to access translations and summaries of many of the texts. This quickly becomes addictive, because the journey is full of surprises. Here, we read about scientific theories or descriptions based on travelers’ accounts. There, we learn how best to capture a unicorn.
As part of its regular “Map Monday” feature, Atlas Obscura looks closely at Frederick de Wit’s Planisphærium cœleste (1670), above. Like other celestial maps of the period, it’s as though the monsters on sea charts have been placed in the skies—especially true for constellations like Cetus, as the article shows.
Ricci (1552–1610) and Verbiest (1623–1688) were both Jesuit priests, in China to spread Christianity; their maps, produced in collaboration with Chinese calligraphers, artists and printers, produced a fundamental rethinking of China’s place in the world. Not that China wasn’t at the centre of these maps, as the essays in the accompanying catalogue point out, but these maps filled out the rest of the world, which was previously a marginal afterthought in Chinese cartography.
The 17th-century Dutch cartographer Frederick de Wit, “one of the most famous dealers of maps, prints and art during the Dutch Golden Age,” is the subject of a new book: George Carhart’s Frederick de Wit and the First Concise Reference Atlas, out this month from Brill Publishing. Buy at Amazon (Canada, U.K.) [via]
After Forbes Smileywas sentenced to 3½ years in prison for stealing nearly 100 maps from a number of different libraries, and maps were returned to the libraries he stole them from, there were still some missing pieces to the puzzle. There were maps in Smiley’s possession that had not been claimed; there were maps missing from libraries that Smiley did not admit to stealing, though he was recorded as the last person to see the map before it went missing.
A seventeenth-century map of Falmouth, Cornwall lost for more than a century has turned up in the private collection of a local historian who died last June. Created by George Withiell in 1690, the map, titled A True Map of all Sir Peter Killigrew’s Lands in the Parish of Mylor and part of Budock Lands, was last on public display in the 1880s and had gone missing since then. The historian, Alan Pearson, found it for sale in Bristol 10 years ago. The map is now on display at the Cornwall Record Office in Bristol. BBC News, West Briton. [via/via]
The map’s rediscovery has set off a flurry of interest and publications (see book list below). Findlen also looks at the scholarly debates about the map. “Brook and Batchelor have both written books about the Selden map, and each scholar takes a somewhat different approach to framing the story and to interpreting a reconstruction of the document’s origins. Yet they concur that this is a Chinese maritime map and a product of late-Ming ambitions, enterprise, and mobility,” she writes.
Hyperallergic has a review of Cities of the World (Taschen, November 2015), a reprint of colour plates from Georg Braun and Franz Hogenberg’s Civitates Orbis Terrarum, which appeared in six volumes between 1572 and 1617. From Taschen: “Featuring plans, bird’s-eye views, and maps for all major cities in Europe, plus important urban centers in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, this masterwork in urban mapping gives us a comprehensive view of city life at the turn of the 17th century.” Maps from the Civitates Orbis Terrarum can also be viewed online here and here. [via] Buy at Amazon (Canada, U.K.)