Biographies of Some of the More Famous Cartographers
Cornelis Wytfliet (d.1597), born in Louvain, was not a geographer but a lawyer interested in geography. He became Secreatary to the Council of Brabant and in 1597 he published “Descriptionis Ptolemaicae Augmentum ...”, in which his intention was to describe all the parts of the world which had not been known to Ptolemy. In effect it was an atlas of America. A French translation, published by Francois Fabri at Douai, appeared in 1605, under the title “Histoire Universelle Des Indes Occidentales”. This was an enlarged edition of the work with four small maps of the east coast.
Lucas Janszoon WAGHENAER
Lucas Jansz Waghenaer (1533-1606) was born in Enkhuizen at a time when the town was prospering from fishing and marine trade. During his youth Waghenaer gained invaluable experience as a sailor and pilot, becoming particularly interested in navigational aids.
His first map was produced in 1577, a chart of the harbour of Enkhuisen. Soon after, he began preparing the maps for a new sea-chart book, drawing on his personal experience and observations. The first volume of the “Spieghel Der Zeevaert” was published in 1584, and the second volume in 1585.
The “Spieghel ...” is unique among printed rutters of the sixteenth century, as it was the first to contain maps. Furthermore, it outranks any other rutter of the period with its splendid presentation of charts and text. As such, it stood out as a model for the folio pilot guides of the seventeenth century.
Koeman writes; “Thanks to the unparalleled skill of the engravers Baptist and Johannes Van Deutecom, the original manuscript maps were transformed into the most beautiful maps of the period. The composition and adornment have greatly contributed to the splendour of what originally were simple sketch charts; the typography of the Plantijn printing house further added to the quality of the book”.
However, the “Spieghel ...” proved too expensive and luxurious for ship-board use, so Waghenaer returned to a more familiar, but smaller, oblong folio format for the “Thresoor Der Zeevaerdt”, which was first published in 1592, and re-issued concurrently with the “Spieghel ...” thereafater. As a more functional volume, these charts are appreciably scarcer than the folio versions, but in terms of the engraving, are in every way comparable.
Maps by Waghenaer are now most sought-after and are becoming more and more scarce.
J. & C. WALKER
J. & C. Walker, who flourished between the between the years 1820-95, were engravers, draughtsmen and publishers working from a number of locations in Central London throughout their long career. They produced maps for the Admiralty, East India Company and the Greenwoods. They were also responsible for publishing a “British Atlas” in 1837, with editions to 1879 and the “Fox Hunting Atlas”, amongst others.
L. Waterlow and Sons were renowned printers and lithographers working in London throughout the latter half of the nineteenth century and the early part of the twentieth century. Their output included maps of and plans of a number of British towns and estates, notably John Laing’s “Map Of Hastings And St Leonard’s …” (1859), as well as maps of further afield.
Christoph Weigel (c.1654-1725) and his relation Johann Weigel worked out of Nuremberg in the first half of the eighteenth century. Weigel is also known for a number of maps featuring in Faber’s “Atlas Scholasticus” (1718) and also the “Schul- Und Reisen Atlas”, produced in conjunction with JD Köhler.
Weigel was also involved with Köhler’s “Descriptio Orbis Antiqui” published c.1720. This volume contained in total forty four well engraved maps of the ancient world, many decorated with vignettes illustrating coins, medallions and mythological scenes.
WEIMAR GEOGRAPHISCHES INSTITUT
The Weimar Geographisches Institut was founded by Friedrich Justin Bertuch in 1804 in Weimar to engrave, print and publish domestic and foreign geographical and cartographical publications, including school atlases, historical atlases, regional, world and special atlases. They also published a range of children’s books and artistic literature. The Institut took over the publication of many of the maps first created and published by the Landes-Industrie Comptoir. Many important mapmakers worked for the company including Gussefeld, August and Adolf Stieler, Heinrich Kiepert, Reinecke, Reichard, Sotzmann and Weiland.
Notable publications include the “Allgemeiner Hand-Atlas” in 60 sheets (1804-1893), a reduced version also appeared in various editions from 1806 to 1882, “Compendioser Atlas” in 30 sheets (1816-1881) and the “Grosser Hand-Atlas Des Himmels Und Der Erde” (1882), as well as many other titles.
Edward Weller (d.1884) was an engraver, publisher and cartographer based in London. He worked from premises in Red Lion Square and later in Duke Street, Bloomsbury.
Weller produced a number of atlases, many of which were used in schools and other educational establishments. Publications included the “Dispatch Atlas” (1858) and the “Crown Atlas” (1871).
Edward Wells (1667-1727) authored “A New Sett Of Mapps Of Ancient And Present Geography ...” in 1700.
Wells was a teacher of mathematics and geography at Christchurch College, Oxford University. He compiled the “New Sett Of Mapps” notable for the parallel maps of classical and contemporary geography.
The maps are all dedicated to the eleven year old William, Duke of Gloucester, a student of his at Oxford at the time, whose mother later became Queen Anne. Unfortunately, all seventeen of her children, including William, predeceased her.
The maps are very much intended as a tool in teaching geography, with less emphasis on, and requirement for, great geographical detail. The maps, engraved in the main by Michael Burghers, the engraver to the University of Oxford, have an unsophisticated charm, which makes them very popular with modern collectors.
Of particular note in the atlas is “A New Map Of The Most Considerable Plantations Of The English In America” for its contemporary description of the English position in the New World.
Frederick de WIT
Frederick De Wit (1610-1698) was a prolific Dutch engraver and publisher, active in Amsterdam in the second half of the seventeenth century. He acquired a number of copperplates from the sale of the Blaeu and Jansson stocks to supplement his own plates, thus having a stock of about four hundred maps. De Wit’s own maps are noted for the fine standard of engraving, invariably well designed and decorative. They were very popular amongst his contemporaries, being reprinted many times both by himself and his successors, the Mortiers.
G. & W.B. WHITAKER
G. & W.B. Whitaker were active in the early part of the nineteenth century. They were publishers based at 13 Ave Maria Lane in London and were responsible for a number of atlases and topographical works - “The Travellers Pocket Atlas Consisting Of A Complete Set Of County Maps, For England And Wales…” and “Pawley’s Minor Atlas” being just two of their publications.
Robert Wilkinson (fl. c.1780-1825) was a map-publisher, working in London; his career began when he took over the business of John Bowles, one of the most active map-makers and publishers of the mid-eighteenth century, following the latter’s death in 1779.
Wilkinson was not by inclination an original publisher; the acquisition of John Bowles’ stock gave him a substantial holding of printing-plates, which he was able to re-issue, to his profit, for a number of years.
In 1794, Wilkinson issued the first edition of a new world atlas, entitled “The General Atlas Being A Collection Of Maps Of The World And Quarters, The Principal Empires, Kingdoms &c. ...”, drawing on the most up-to-date geographical knowledge. The atlas proved successful, and went through a number of editions.
In 1825, Wilkinson renewed the atlas with a series of new maps, again utilising the best cartographic models. However, he died the same year, and the stock of plates was acquired by another London publisher, William Darton, who promptly re-issued the atlas, with his imprint substituted on the plates.
The Family WYLD
The Wylds were an important and respected family of London map publishers.
James Wyld (senior) had been apprenticed to William Faden, taking over the business in 1823 and re-issuing many of Faden’s maps, and eventually became Geographer to His Majesty (George IV and William IV) and HRH the Duke of York. Wyld was also a founder member of the Royal Geographical Society in 1830 and had worked in the Quarter Master General’s Office. “Tooley’s Dictionary Of Mapmakers” tells us that Wyld’s career is also remarkable for having introduced lithography into map printing in “Plans Of The Peninsula Campaign” in 1812. The “Dictionary” also states that Wyld ‘died from overwork’ having had such an illustrious career.
The Wyld map publishing dynasty was continued by James (junior) who entered the family business in c.1830. He too had royal connections and was Geographer to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. James Junior republished some of his father’s map and guided the company towards becoming agents for the Ordnance Survey. James Junior also found time to act as Member of Parliament for Bodmin.
Robert Laurie (c.1755-1836) and James Whittle (1757-1818) were map, chart and print-sellers and cartographic publishers at the ‘Golden Buck’ No 53 Fleet Street. In 1794 they took over the business of Robert Sayer and operated from there. From about 1797, Laurie devoted most of his time to the publishing business. A large number of maritime atlases and pilots, and revised editions of the works of Kitchin, Jeffreys and Après de Mannevillette were issued between the years 1794 and 1812. Laurie retired in 1812 and died at Broxbourne in 1836. After Laurie’s retirement James Whittle carried on the business with his partner’s son, Richard Holmes Laurie, until his death in 1818. Ultimately the business formed part of the famous nautical chart firm of Imray, Laurie, Norie &Wilson.
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.