Biographies of Some of the More Famous Cartographers
Giacomo Gastaldi (c.1500-1566) was an Italian astronomer, cartographer and engineer from Villafranca in Piedmont. Little is known of him until he arrived in Venice and was granted a privilege by the Venetian senate in 1539 for the printing of a perpetual calendar.
Gastaldi’s position in Venice placed him at the centre of an important world-trading centre at this time. The Republic would have been host to many travellers, providing and stimulating Gastaldi with up-to-date reports of their discoveries and findings. While in Venice, Gastaldi met Giovanni Battista Ramusio who was working on his “Navigationi et Viaggi” and was also secretary to the senate, thus beginning their association. Venice was a focal point of Italian cartographic activity in this period, with Gastaldi and Ramusio placed at its epicentre.
Gastaldi’s first geographical work was a map of Germany, dated 1542, for a new edition of Ptolemy’s “Geographia”, although this work was not actually published until 1548. Gastaldi also worked on a number of maps at this time that were used as sources for other mapmakers’ work – Ortelius and De Jode’s maps of Sicily, for example, are based on Gastaldi. Other mapmakers to use his work included Camocio, Bertelli, Forlani and Luchini, amongst others – thus Gastaldi can be associated with the Lafreri school of mapmakers.
Some of Gastaldi’s most well-known and sought-after works include his world map that was first published in 1546 entitled “Nova Totius Orbis Descriptio”, the woodcut maps for the aforementioned “Navigationi et Viaggi” by Ramusio, as well as many other maps covering a variety of geographical areas.
Often encountered are Girolamo Ruscelli’s maps from his new translation of Ptolemy’s “Geographia” that was first published in 1561 – the maps contained therein are enlargements of the maps that Gastaldi had produced for his 1548 edition of the “Geographia”.
Robert W. Karrow Jr., Mapmakers of the Sixteenth Century and Their Maps, pp.216-249.
Sotheby’s, The Wardington Library Part One:A-K, pp.165-196.
Francis Grose (c.1731-1791) was an antiquary and draughtsman responsible for the “Antiquitues Of England And Wales”. The work was published in six volumes between 1773 and 1787, and the 52 maps contained therein were reprints (with some alterations) of John Seller’s “Anglia Contracta”, first published in 1695.
The GOOS FAMILY
Abraham Goos (c.1590-1643) was an Amsterdam engraver, mapseller, cartographer and publisher and father to Pieter Goos (161501675), who also assumed his father’s professions. Abraham’s family links to the map trade were undeniable – he was the nephew of Pieter van den Keere and Collette van den Keere (who married Jodocus Hondius).
Abraham worked with many of the members of his extended family as well as Johannes Jansonnius. He published globes with Pieter van den Keere and also engraved Americae Nova Descriptio for him. He also replaced the worn plate for ‘The Kingdom Of England’ in John Speed’s “Theatre Of The Empire Of Great Britaine” for the 1632 and subsequent editions.
Pieter Goos, Abraham’s son and successor, was perhaps the most active member of the family. In 1650 he acquired the plates to Jacobsz’s mariner’s guide, “De Lichtende Columne Ofte Zee-Spiegel”. Pieter re-issued this work in numerous editions and also produced English editions in 1667, 1668, 1669 and 1670 – the many editions of this work prove its popularity with the consumer public and the charts are recognisable today as being of a high standard.
Pieter’s other works were also maritime based and also often extended to numerous editions in several languages. The “Zee-Atlas Ofte Water-Wereld” by Pieter Goos was first published in 1666 – many of the charts were based on those of Hendrik Doncker and the concept for a sea atlas was not original. However, this work was also well received by the public.
I.C.Koeman, Atlantes Neerlandici Volume IV, pp.192-217.
The Family GRIERSON
The Griersons were a family of publishers in Dublin whose output spanned some 150 years.
George Grierson (1680-1753) was the King’s Printer in Ireland, a prolific publisher, and was responsible for an edition of “The English Pilot. The Fourth Book ...”. The detailed charts contained therein were attributed to the English mapmaker, Samuel Thornton, and were engraved for the pirate Dublin edition by James Barlow. A re-issue of the Dublin edition was published by Boulter Grierson in 1767. George Grierson also published a number of other maps and atlases, although they were essentially pirate versions of existing English models, often after Herman Moll.
Christopher & James GREENWOOD
Christopher (or perhaps Charles – either way 1786-1855) and James (or perhaps John) Greenwood were one of the last private firms to undertake the large-scale mapping of England and Wales, producing many fine multi-sheet county maps from their own survey work. There seems to be some confusion as to the first names of the brothers Greenwood – Tooley, Chubb and Rodger each offer different alternatives. For consistency, we shall adopt Christopher and James.
Christopher Greenwood was born in Wakefield, Yorkshire, and his first map publication was of his own county and was based on his own survey work. He moved to London in 1818 and his partnership with his brother began in 1821 – the imprint C.&J.Greenwood was to appear on both the large-scale and atlas publications of the Greenwoods.
From the first English county atlas in 1579 until the middle of the eighteenth century, few maps were printed that attempted to show, on a large-scale, more than the basic details of towns, villages, roads and prominent physical features. Maps of just a handful of counties, or their parts, were available at scales of one-inch-to-the-mile or greater, but even the most detailed county atlas of the period could not provide the information required by an expanding and increasingly sophisticated market-place.
The result of this failing was that in 1759 the body that is now the Royal Society of Arts announced a prize of £1000 to be awarded for an original survey at a scale of one-inch-to-the-mile. The first recipient of the award was Benjamin Donn whose map of Devon, completed in 1765, had taken five and a half years to produce. Maps of many counties followed with twelve further publications benefiting from the award. Coinciding with these privately produced surveys, the Board of Ordnance had begun surveying the country and in 1801 its first map, albeit of an individual county - Kent, was published. By 1840 maps of nearly all England had been published at a scale of one-inch-to-the-mile. However, the advent of the national survey did not entirely negate the work of the independent map publisher and one of the most prominent firms of the period was that of Christopher and John Greenwood.
The Greenwoods' intention was for a series of maps of the whole country at a one inch scale and, although this was not achieved, their output includes superb maps that were finely drafted and elegantly engraved. Eventually, they could not compete with the officially funded publications of the Ordnance Survey, and were unable to complete their one-inch-to-the-mile project.
Instead, they published a beautifully engraved “Atlas of the Counties of England” with the maps decorated with large vignette views of prominent buildings of the county. Some of the maps were issued uncoloured, but most are frequently found in attractive, full-wash colour across the body of the map. These maps were engraved on steel, a more durable medium than copper, and appeared around 1830.
Martin Norgate, Checklist Of Hampshire Maps, Greenwood.
Batten & Bennett, The Printed Maps of Devon, pp.194-197.
The Family GLASSBACH
The Glassbachs were a family of Prussian engravers. Christian Benjamin (1724-1779) was born in Magdeburg and died in Berlin. He was father to Carl Christian (b.1751) and his brother Benjamin (b.1757), who worked together throughout the latter part of the eighteenth century. The family were responsible for a number of military maps as well engraving others during this period of exploration and discovery. Benjamin is known to have engraved six maps for George Foster’s “Geschichte Der Reisen, Die Seit Cook An Der Nordwest- Und Nordost- Kuste Von America …”. The style of engraving of the Glassbach maps is clear and concise with careful attention to detail.
Hessel Gerritsz (1580-1632) was a Dutch engraver, cartographer, publisher and bookseller from Assum in the Netherlands. He had been apprenticed to Willem Blaeu and subsequently set up on his own in Amsterdam. Gerritsz was appointed official map-maker to the Dutch East India Company in 1617, and was map-maker to the Dutch West India Company from 1621. As mapmaker to the VOC he compiled charts from ships’ logs and annotated charts, ensuring the whole company was kept up-to-date with the latest information.
Gerritsz drew and engraved the maps for “Nieuwe Wereledt Ofte Bescrijvinghe Van West-Indien”, which Johannes de Laet compiled, and which was first published in 1625. It is hard to overestimate the importance of this series of maps by de Laet and Gerritsz; they form an outstanding cartographic picture of the New World - perhaps the definitive collection of regional maps of America in the seventeenth century. Virtually all these maps were prototype delineations for the regions they depicted; among the many map-makers who modelled their maps on them were the Blaeus, Hondius-Jansson and Sanson.
Gerritsz also engraved Williem Blaeu’s “Magni Ducatus Lithuaniae” in 1613 that was later used, in a slightly modified format, in the Blaeu “Atlas Appendix” up to 1635, as well as many other important and well-documented maps.
The “Gentleman’s Magazine” full title was “The Gentleman’s Magazine; or, Monthly Intelligencer. For the Year --. Containing, I. Essays controversial, humourous, and satirical; religiious, moral, and political: collected chiefly from the public papers. II. Select pieces of poetry. III. A succinct account of the most remarkable transactions and events foreign and domestick. IV. Births, marriages, deaths, promotions, and bankrupts. V. The price of goods and stocks, and bill of mortality. VI. A register of books. VII. Observations in gardening. With proper indexes, by Sylvanus Urban, Gent.” and was issued monthy from 1731. From 1736 the title bacame a much more manageable “Gentleman’s Magazine: and Historical Chronicle”.
The magazine is reputed to have been the leading monthly publication of the period and continued to be published well into the 1790s. The magazine’s founder, one Edward Cave, remained in charge of the publication until his death in 1754 when his brother-in-law and nephew assumed charge. A number of attractive maps, professionally drafted and engraved, and covering a variety of areas, appeared in the publication throughout its seventy year run.
Phillipe [Filips] Galle (1537-1612) was an editor, engraver and printseller from Haarlem, active in the flourishing town of Antwerp. As well as the miniature edition of Ortelius’ great work with text by P.Heyns, “Spieghel Der Werelt” (later known as the “Epitome”), published in numerous editions and languages until 1602, Galle had also acted as co-publisher of Braun and Hogenberg’s “Civitates Orbis Terrarum”.
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.