Johann Baptist Homann. “Hiberniae Regnum tam in praecipuas Ultoniae, Connaciae, Lageniae, et Momoniae” (Nuremberg, Johann Baptist Homann, 1716). First edition. Published in Grosser Atlas Ueber Die Ganze Welt. Double-page copperplate engraving with bright original hand color. 22 1/2 x 18 3/4" at neat line with full margins. Sheet size: 24 x 21". Impressive uncolored title cartouche (as issued), u. l. Decorative scale of miles featuring fishermen releasing their catch, l. r. A nearly flawless example with superb original color and a strong, dark impression.
This large and handsome map of Ireland represents the height of the cartographic work of Johann Homann, one of Europe’s premier eighteenth-century mapmakers. The map exhibits all the hallmarks of his style: beautiful engraving, exceptional detail, and an impressive allegorical title cartouche in the upper left corner, which celebrates Ireland’s cultural heritage: the Gaelic harp, the oldest symbol of Ireland, is flanked by the allegorical figures of Pan, the Celtic god of nature, and two aspects of Brigit, the Celtic goddess who rules over poetry, the healing arts, and the agricultural bounty of the Emerald Isle.
The prototype for the map was made originally in 1689 by Nicholaes Visscher II of Amsterdam and became the model for subsequent maps of Ireland, including this well-known version by Homann. The Homann map features up-to-date geographical information for eighteenth-century Ireland and pays particular attention to political configurations. The map highlights the country’s four provinces—Munster, Connought (present-day Connacht), Leinster (present-day Lenister), and Ulster—then further breaks down jurisdictions into counties, capital cities, towns, villages, castles, and churches. During Ireland’s golden age, the four provinces were little more than loosely federated kingdoms with somewhat flexible boundaries. The term "province" actually is only an English approximation of the word "cuige" which, strictly speaking, means "a fifth," but which in older times also probably meant "a portion," as in a portion of the island. As the term implies, there once were five fifths or five provinces in Ireland: Ulaid (more or less what is now Ulster), Midhe (now reduced to a county in Lenister), Lagain (now Lenister, including Midhe), Mumhan (Munster), and Connacht. Today six of Ulster’s counties form Northern Ireland, which is a political constituent of the United Kingdom.
When Johann Baptist Homann began his business as a cartographer in 1702, he founded a dynasty that was to last into the nineteenth century. Following the long period of Dutch domination, the Homann family became the most important map publishers in Germany. After the founder's death in 1724, the firm continued under the direction of his son until 1730 and was then bequeathed to his heirs on the condition that it trade under the name of Homann Heirs. Maps under this imprint continued to exert a wide influence on map publishing in Germany.
This is a wonderfully detailed map of Ireland. Each province is rendered in full color, which, in combination with the decorative cartouche and scale of miles, makes for an outstanding and visually rich example of the eighteenth-century mapmaker’s art.
Ref.: LeGear, 5966. 18