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  Johann Baptist Homann. Superb Maps of the World and the Four Continents, 1716.  

Homann, World

Homann, Europe

Homann, Asia

Homann, Africa

Homann, Americas

Johann Baptist Homann. Superb Maps of the World and the Four Continents (Nuremberg: Johann Baptist Homann, 1716). Published in first edition of Grosser Atlas Ueber Die Ganze Welt. Five maps, each map is a double-page copperplate engraving with exceptional original hand color. All have the following sizes: 19 x 22" at neat line with full margins, and sheet size: 21 x 24". Condition of individual maps noted below. Overall, for all five maps, excellent condition with eye-popping original hand color.


This superb set of maps by Homann comprises five magnificently hand-colored and richly embellished examples by the most important German mapmaker of the eighteenth century. The five maps constitute the centerpiece of Homann’s beautiful Grosser Atlas, first published in 1716 and dedicated to Charles VI, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. The atlas was reissued in subsequent editions up to 1748, but the present group is from the first edition. Thus offered here is an exceptional opportunity to acquire a complete set of the earliest examples of Homann’s double-hemisphere world map, considered one of his most splendid productions, and four maps that represent the continents of the known world: Europe, Asia, Africa, and North and South America. The five maps all feature the well-engraved thematic cartouches and ornamental flourishes that are the hallmarks of Homann’s style. The details of these five outstanding Baroque-era maps are presented below.

No. 12: “Planiglobii Terrestris Cum Utroq Hemisphaerio Caelesti Generalis Exhibitio.” Very minor scattered spotting; tiny loss just off Cape Horn (repaired). A gorgeous map in original full color wash. This beautiful double-hemisphere world is considered one of Homann’s finest maps. Its early date of 1716 is reinforced by the portrayal of California as an enormous island. (Later editions, including the 1720, show California attached to the mainland.) In addition to the handsome and detailed portrayal of the east and west hemispheres, the map fairly bursts with activity, presenting a rich combination of eighteenth-century science and allegory. Two celestial hemispheres show the constellations, while the sun, moon, the stars, and windheads swirl around the borders of the four circular maps. At the bottom, a fascinating series of vignettes illustrate such natural phenomena as Mt. Etna erupting, an earthquake, the tides, waterspouts, a whirlpool swallowing a ship, and a rainbow. An exquisite map.

No. 13: “Europa Christiani Orbis Domina.” Faint scattered spotting; old accretions. Overall excellent with amazing hand color. A handsome map of Europe and western Russia, featuring information on the solar eclipse of May 12, 1706, and charting the effects of its path across the continent.

No. 14: “Asiae Recentissima Delineatio.” Minor scattered spotting; old accretion. Overall excellent with amazing original hand color. A marvelous and graphically strong example of Homann’s first map of Asia, extending from the Mediterranean to the Pacific and including an incomplete version of the mythical Campagnie Land, north of Japan, as well as the huge Terra Yedso, a misrepresentation of Hokkaido.

No. 15: “Totius Africae.” Minor spotting; faint transference. Overall excellent with exceptional original full hand color. An early and bold portrayal of the African continent with a surprising number of details in the interior for this early period. The map features huge tribal delineations and a fabulous title cartouche showing tribal chieftains, indigenous animals, a tiny vignette of the Nile, and a reference to the ivory trade.

No. 16: “Totius Americae: Septentrionalis et Meridionalis.” Unobtrusive scattered soiling; one small stain below upper cartouche; slight spotting in lower centerfold. A superb map with stunning original hand color showing North and South America. California is an enormous island, again reinforcing the early date for this map. A large, richly engraved and uncolored title cartouche (as issued) shows the indigenous peoples of both hemispheres, as well as European colonists and a tiny vignette of a New World settlement.

Refs.: LeGear, 5966 (1716 edition); Phillips, Atlases, 586 (later edition).

Copyright 2003, William R. Talbot