If you have a longing to visit Europe but dislike air travel, join us this week for our collection of antique maps of the Old World. Explore both land and sea from the comfort of your armchair with this array of maps of Europe and England.
First stop is England, which is represented by an unusual decorative map by famed cartographer John Speed that encompasses Cumberland and much of the English Lake District. The hand-colored map is from his 1611 atlas titled The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine. This double-page map includes an inset plan of the town of Carlisle and a description of “The Puct’s Wall,” aka Hadrian’s Wall, an ancient Roman fortification. Speed introduced town plans, vignette scenes of topographical, historical or archaeological interest to mapmaking.
Another colorful British map is of the city of London and surround area by T. Bowles and published in Germany 1741. It measures about 19.5 by 22.2 inches.
Laurent’s 1793 map of Manchester and Salford represents a topographical plan showing allotments of land to be developed. An inlet shows a strip road map from London to Manchester. This 18th century map measures about 17 by 14.5 inches.
Heading east, the grand tour travels to southern Italy, guided by the 1832 Marzolla Atlas of the Two Sicilies. The volume contains 21 double-page maps detailing the extent of the United Kingdom’s of Naples and Sicily (1808-1861) and its individual provinces. Rich detail is given in the left and right margins of the maps as to population and dioceses within each of the provinces as well as customs, historical summary and products/industries of each province. The atlas measures 17.8 by 12.8 inches.
Pianta della Regia Città di Venezia is an aquatint plan of Venice, surrounded by 21 views of the city’s main monuments and sights. Designed by Bertoja, engraved by Lazzari and published by Gallo in 1831, this map measures 22.2 by 19.5 inches.
Farther east comes a map of the Aegean Islands, from Crete to Macedonia and Romania. Published by G. Rossi in Rome in 1685, this map is adorned with an elaborate central title cartouche featuring Neptune and Persephone flanking a shell and sea monsters.
Not done with your European travel? This map collection also visits Spain, France, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark and Russia. Not only will these maps serve as decorative pieces, they will also reveal a past vision of the world. Bon Voyage!