Biographies of Some of the More Famous Cartographers
William M. BRADLEY
This attractive example of a late nineteenth century map comes from Bradley’s Atlas of the World for Commercial and Library Reference. To quote the title page from the atlas, “a complete American and foreign atlas, compiled from official state, national and international surveys, supplemented by information furnished by the postal and interior departments of the United States, and from many reliable private sources. Officially approved and adopted by the departments of the United States Government.”
A resurgence of atlas production during the 1840s and 1850s was very much based in Philadelphia, beginning with such works as Samuel Augustus Mitchell’s New Universal Atlas, first published in 1846 and issued periodically until 1893. This atlas production reflected an emerging mass market fuelled by prosperity and mobility and was to continue throughout the latter half of the nineteenth century. Maps from this period tend to be geographically accurate and contain little of the decorative element of earlier centuries. An aesthetically pleasing historical document.
Benedetto Bordone (disputed 1445-1460 – 1530/1539) was a miniaturist, illuminator, cartographer and engraver from Padua, who worked and died in Venice. He is perhaps best known for his isoloario, “Libro De Benedetto Bordone, Nel Qual Si Ragiona De Tutte L’Isole Del Mondo”, the first sixteenth century ‘island book’ not devoted entirely to the Mediterranean. The maps are plainly engraved with relatively little detail, but constitute, in many instances, the earliest separate depictions of the chosen region. The maps are set in pages of text and there were some 111 contained in the text.
Bordone was given permission by the Senate in 1508 to print maps of Italy and the world and the maps in Pliny’s Natural History of 1513 are also attributed to him. However, it was his isolario, first published in 1528, that gave prominence to both his own work and the discoveries in the New World.
Walter Graham BLACKIE
Walter Graham Blackie was a geographer and publisher active in London during much of the nineteenth century. He is known for “The Imperial Atlas Of Modern Geography” published in London in 1860.
Walter Graham and his son published maps under the name ‘Blackie & Son’ in Glasgow, Edinburgh and London. As a firm they were responsible for, amongst others, “General Atlas” (1840), “Blackie and Son’s Imperial Atlas” (1859) and “The Comprehensive Atlas And Geography Of The World” (1880-1883). The maps produced were clear and detailed representations of the world.
George Bickham (1684-1758) was an expert engraver working in London from about 1702 to 1758. His particular specialty was calligraphy, and he published a number of books on penmanship, including the "Universal Penman"; he also worked as an engraver of portraits.
His sole incursion into map-making was a volume entitled “The British Monarchy Or A New Chorographical Description Of All the Dominions Subject To The King Of Great Britain. Comprehending The British Isles, The American Colonies ...”, published in London in 1754.
The series contains a curious series of maps of the English counties, almost depicted as panoramas taken from an imaginary bird’s-eye view-point, looking across the county. The second section, relating to the American colonies and settlements in India and Africa, included a general map of the North Atlantic.
As a curiosity atlas, this volume is now rarely encountered.
Robert Bénard was an engraver active in Paris throughout the latter half of the eighteenth century. He is known to have engraved “Amérique Mérionale” in André Prévost’s “Histoire Générale Des Voyages” in 1754 as well as the maps in the French edition of Cook’s voyages, 1774-1785. His style is clear and concise, yet elegant, and he shows a careful attention to detail.
Johann Christoph BEER
Johann Christoph Beer [or Baer] (1673-1753) was a little known publisher active in Nuremberg in the 1690s. He is recorded as issuing two small atlases, although neither was of great originality. The first was a collection of British town plans, "Das Neu-Geharnischte Gross-Britannien ..." The second atlas was Geographiae Universalis, published in 1690. This was a re-issue of an anonymous German edition of Pierre Duval’s pocket atlas, "La Geographie Universelle", first issued by Duval in Paris in about 1660. These maps were designed to supplement an extensive geographical text and so present, within the constraints of space, a valuable summary of contemporary geographical knowledge.
The Family BARTHOLOMEW
The Bartholomew family were a firm of publishers based in Edinburgh throughout much of the nineteenth century. The firm was founded by George B. Bartholomew c.1826 as a firm of engravers working with W.H.Lizars on Thomason’s “Atlas Of Scotland”, that was published in 1831. Their engraving work has also been noted on Lizar’s “General Atlas Of The World” in 1836, on Black’s 1863 “Atlas Of Australia” working with Sidney Hall and W.Hughes on the engraving, and also with George Swanston on Fullarton’s “Royal Illustrated Atlas” in 1860.
The Bartholomews extended their engraving endeavours to printing and published in 1860. They were responsible for publishing a great number of maps, both of Scotland and the world at large which are clear, concise, functional and yet not unattractive, encapsulating the geographical accuracy of the period.
Other notable members of the family and just some of their works include:
John Bartholomew Senior (1805-1861) – Apprenticed to W.H.Lizars in 1820. “Post Office Directory Plan Of Edinburgh” (1832), “Lizars Edinburgh General Atlas Of The World” ( 1836).
John Bartholomew Junior (1831-1893) – Geographer and engraver. "A. & C. Black’s General Atlas" (1856), "A. & C. Black’s Large Tourist Map Of Scotland" (1862).
John George B. Bartholomew (1860-1920) – Geographer and cartographic publisher. Developed contour-layer colouring on maps. "RSGS Atlas of Scotland" (1835), "Citizen’s Atlas" (1893), "Climatological Map Of India" (1906).
John B. Bartholomew (1890-1960) – Geographer and cartographic publisher.
Bellin was responsible for an enormous output of charts and maps. In a large folio format, he issued a volume of sea-charts of France, the Neptune Francois, and several sea-atlases of the World, including the Atlas Maritime and the Hydrographie Francaise. These large charts were amongst the best of the period and continued being reissued throughout the second half of the eighteenth century.
In smaller format, he issued the Petit Atlas Maritime (1764),which contained 580 detailed charts, as well as maps to illustrate l’Abbe Prevost’s Histoire Generale des Voyages (1746-1757). Bellin also produced a substantial number of important separately issued maps, particularly reflecting continuing discoveries and political events in the Americas.
His maps and charts were finely engraved and produced, and set a high standard of accuracy.
George Washington BACON
George Washington Bacon (1830-1922) was a publisher working in London throughout much of the Victorian era. He was responsible for a prolific output of cartographic work; acting as the British publisher for the American, J.H.Colton, and taking over the renowned Wyld firm in 1893 are just two examples.
By 1870 Bacon’s firm had established itself as one of London’s leading cartographical establishments and, as well as dealing in maps, atlases and wall charts, was also curiously dealing ‘Bacon’s Sewing Machines’.
Bacon’s stature in the cartographic community continued to grow and in May 1866 he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. He insured a wide dispersion of his maps by including them in such diverse publications as “Car Illustrated” and “Intelligence Quarterly”. His maps were colourfully eye-catching, when costs allowed, and often included illustrations, the small steam-trains on this map of the Thames provide an interesting feature.
Bacon was also responsible for a number of cycling maps of the country, in keeping with the Victorian themes of health and fitness, as well as tourist maps of the capital in competition with other mapmakers of the day. He also produced satirical maps and a serio-comic map of Europe. Bacon knew his market well and used this knowledge to his advantage.
Heinrich Bunting (1545-1606) was a Professor of Theology in Hanover, best known for his "Iitnerarium Sacrae Scripturae", a theological commentary, first issued in 1581.
The "Itinerarium ..." is illustrated with several curious woodblock maps. These include maps of the world, Africa, and two of the Holy Land. However, the book is perhaps more famous for three cartographic curiosities that it contains: a world map in the shape of a clover-leaf, Europe personified as a woman, and Asia designed in the shape of the winged horse Pegasus.
French cartographers of the eighteenth century became renowned for their theoretical approach to cartography. Phillipe Buache (1700-1773) and Jean-Claude Dezauche (fl.1770-1824), as successors to the influential Guillaume De L'Isle, were at the forefront of this theoretical approach.
Buache’s family were great rivals of the Robert de Vaugondy family and it was Philippe Buache’s output as a mapmaker that made the family name synonymous with the prevailing theoretical cartography. Buache had married De L’Isle’s daughter in 1720 and entered the Depot des cartes et plans de marine in 1721. In 1729 he was appointed “premier geographe du roi”. Buache’s output was considerable throughout his career and on his death his widow sold the geographical collection to Jean Nicholas Buache de la Neuville, Philippe’s nephew.
Dezauche acquired the work Buache in 1780, having bought it from Jean Nicolas, as well as the work of many other geographers and cartographers (including De L’Isle). He made his own alterations and improvements to the works, and then re-published them in an improved and up-to-date form.
The Family de BRY
The de Bry family occupied a prominent role in the production of atlases and accounts of voyages in sixteenth and early seventeenth century Europe. Their considerable output was derived from a number of different sources, adopted for the most part a highly pictorial style, and was highly influential in conditioning European perceptions of newly encountered parts of the world
Theodore de Bry (1528-1598), born in Liege, was responsible for the ‘Grands Voyages’ which contained many hugely important engravings of the New World. These were derived mainly from John Whites’s beautiful watercolours of the doomed Roanoke colony, which de Bry would have seen during his time in England from 1586 to 1588. The watercolours, and de Bry’s engravings after them, gave Europe its’ first vivid glimpse of North America. De Bry is also said to have used the paintings of Jacques le Moyne de Morgues, a French artist on board Jean Ribauld’s 1562 expedition to modern day Florida. The ‘Grands Voyages’ was begun in 1590 and ran to many editions, testament to its’ huge popularity.
Theodore along with his sons Johann Israel and Johann Theodore (1561-1623), moved to Frankfurt in 1570 to avoid the Spanish persecution of Flemish Protestants. It was in this city that the ‘Petits Voyages’ was first published in 1598, running to many editions. This included maps and engravings of Africa and the East Indies based on Pigafetta and others. The representation of battles scenes involving the Spanish is surely influenced by the de Bry’s own treatment at Spanish hands.
The de Bry family are of considerable importance to the history of cartography, and their legacy continues throughout the seventeenth-century in the gifted craftsmanship and artistic excellence of Theodore’s son-in-law Matthias Merian, and Merian’s pupil, Wenceslas Hollar.
The Family BLAEU
“The finest Dutch map publishers were the Blaeu family, and they hold the title of mapmakers supreme for any period of cartographical history.” (R. Baynton-Williams, Investing in Maps).
Willem Janszoon Blaeu (1571-1638) was the founder of the Blaeu publishing house and established the fine reputation of Blaeu maps. His long-standing interest in mathematics and astronomy led him to Tycho Brahe in Denmark where he learned the art of globe-making. On returning to the Netherlands, he set up a business in Amsterdam to make use of his new-found globe-making skills. The business was to develop to incorporate its own printing press and Willem Janszoon Blaeu’s first publications included sea charts in Het Licht Der Zee-Vaert in 1608 and a revised issue of Copernicus’ De Revolutionibus Orbium Caelestium.
He published his first world atlas, the Atlantis Appendix in 1630, in association with his eldest son, Joan Blaeu (c.1599-1673). The atlas was based around the printing plates acquired from Jodocus Hondius Jr.’s stock, who had himself published the later edition of Mercator’s Atlas. The atlas contained some sixty maps. This work was expanded in 1631 to contain 98 maps and bore the joint imprint of father and son with the title Appendix Theatri A.Ortelii Et Atlantis G. Mercatoris.
In 1634 he commenced publication of the Theatrum or Novus Atlas. This two-volume work was larger still with up to 208 maps. This atlas, published in four separate editions in four different languages, was clear evidence of his ambitions. The success of this atlas and plans for subsequent projects meant a premises move at this time. Just one year later in 1638 Willem Janszoon Blaeu died and control of the business passed to his son, Joan.
Joan “aimed at the full description of heaven, earth and water” (Koeman, Atlantes Neerlandici) and continually expanded the Novus Atlas in this quest. The work grew to some nine to twelve folio volumes by c.1662 known as the Atlas Major, generally regarded as the pinnacle of atlas- publishing. The Atlas Maior finally incorporated over 650 maps, often found in the loveliest contemporary colour.
The Blaeu printing house was one of the largest in the world and Joan was assisted by his sons Willem, Pieter and Joan II. Their endeavours insured Blaeu maps were, and still are, renowned for the consummate care and attention apparent in every stage of production - using only the best paper with finely engraved plates and a high standard of printing.
Adrien Hubert BRUE
Adrien Hubert Brue (1786-1832) was an important French geographer and publisher at the ‘rue des Macons-Sorbonne’. He held the titles of ‘Geographe du roy’ and also ‘Geographe de son Altesse royale Monsieur le comte d’Artois’.
On Blome’s death, the plates from the smaller atlas were purchased by Thomas Taylor, who revised the plates before reprinting them in his atlas England Exactly Described, published from 1715 onwards. Still later, the plates were re- published by Thomas Bakewell.
Blome has traditionally been accused of plagiarism. There can be no doubt that Blome’s maps were not original, but they filled a void in the market, between the large expensive atlases of Speed, Blaeu and Jansson, and the pocket-sized “miniature Speed” volume.
The maps themselves are charming and often attractive, many having decorative coats of arms, ships and sea monsters. Dedications to local worthies and textual annotations add to the distinctive style of these uncommon maps.
Blome also issued a world atlas, the Geographical Description of the Four Parts of the World, in 1670, which was re-issued as the Cosmography and Geography, in 1682 and 1693. The maps from this atlas were Anglicized copies of Nicolas Sanson’s work. Blome also issued a number of Bible maps, usually after Visscher.
Philippe Briet (1601-1668) was a Jesuit priest of Abbeville who travelled to the Holy Land, collecting information for his maps along the way. His “Palestinae Delineatio …” was published in Paris by Michael van Lochom having been engraved by Henri Le Roy.
Bonne prepared a large number of charts, some of which appeared in the Atlas Maritime. Today, he is best known for the smaller maps that he prepared for Raynal’s Atlas de Toutes Les Parties Connues du Globe Terrestre, published in 1780, and the Atlas Encyclopedique, published in conjunction with Nicholas Desmarest. Although the maps are relatively plain, dispensing with the decorative embellishment of mid-century, they are detailed and provide good coverage of newly discovered regions.
Emanuel Bowen (c.1693/1694-1767) was an English engraver, publisher and mapseller active in London between 1720 and 1767. His prolific output as engraver and publisher earned him recognition both in England and France, for he held the dual appointment of Engraver to George II and to Louis XV of France.
Bowen engraved large numbers of maps for general atlases, geographical text-books and periodicals, particularly The Complete System of Geography, the Universal History of the World, the small-format periodical The General Magazine of Arts and Sciences and the Complete Atlas.
London aspired towards a dominant position in the European chart and map market of the eighteenth century with Emanuel Bowen one of the most prolific mapmakers. The maps which accompanied his New And Complete System Of Geography and those prepared for John Harris’s Navigantium … A Complete Collection Of Travels embody a distinctive and appealing style – figured, rococo cartouches with vignettes representative of the areas shown, and annotations describing the region typify these charming Georgian views of the world.
Bowen also produced a large number of English county maps. His earliest known publication was a series of road maps of England and Wales, the Britannia Depicta, with a map of each county, produced in partnership with John Owen in 1720 (the Owen and Bowen maps). This series was very popular, being frequently re-issued up to 1764 and was the most successful successor to John Ogilby’s renowned road book.
Perhaps the best and most important of Bowen’s maps were published in conjunction with Thomas Kitchin, in the rare Royal English Atlas and the Large English Atlas. The maps in the Large English Atlas form one of the most impressive and attractive series of English county maps ever produced, being the largest scale and most detailed atlas of the counties yet published. They are remarkable not only for the detail shown, but also their clarity, two attributes not often found together. Every inch of the map surface is crammed with information regarding the area, its economy, inhabitants, interesting local attractions and so on, yet without overcrowding the map content. Bowen maps typically feature elegant and artistic title cartouches of rococo or floral design, and often with vignette scenes of rural, urban or classical landscapes.
Georg BRAUN & Frans HOGENBERG
Georg Braun (1541-1622) and Frans Hogenberg (1535-1590) were co-publishers of the monumental Civitates Orbis Terrarum, “the earliest systematic city atlas” (Koeman), published from 1572 onwards. Designed as a companion to Ortelius’ world atlas the Theatrum, this enormous work, which was expanded to six volumes by 1617 incorporating over 500 plans and views, must be viewed as one of the most ambitious book producing ventures of all time, and certainly, with Ortelius’ Theatrum and Blaeu’s Atlas Maior among the greatest achievements in the history of cartography.
Braun compiled the accompanying text, printed on the reverse of the engraved sheets, while the plans were engraved by Hogenberg, who had also prepared some of the maps for Ortelius’ Theatrum. Hogenberg used generally up-to-date and accurate maps, surveys and reports from local sources to compile this collection of plans and bird’s-eye views of all the major towns of Europe, some African, Middle Eastern and Indian towns, and the New World cities of Mexico and Cusco. One of the major contributors was Georg (or Joris) Hoefnagel, who supplied some 63 manuscript drawings, the vast majority from personal observation.
It is to Hogenberg’s credit that, despite the many different sources from which this vast collection of plans was assembled, he managed to create a sense of uniformity among the completed engravings. While this has much to do with his own style, he also relied on a standard formula, inserting appropriate coats of arms and, in the foreground, attractive drawings of inhabitants of the region, in local costume.
Further information about many of these cartographers may be found in the volumes of Tooley's Dictionary - an invaluable addition to any map collection or single item.