1486 Claude Ptolemy, Holle & Reger Antique Renaissance Map of Great Britain & Ireland - Rare

Cartographer : Claude Ptolemy

This original hand coloured wood-block engraved very early, rare antique map of Great Britain & Ireland was published in the 1486 Ulm edition & translation of Claudius Ptolemys (87-150) text, published in the 2nd edition of Lienhart Holles & by Johann Reger  atlas Claudii Ptolomei .... Cosmographie ... Opus Donni Nicolai Germani Secvndvm Ptolomevm Finit, Ulm, Germany. (Shirley 5)

This is a unique & very rare map and only the 4th map of the British Isles printed, published only 47 years after Johannes Gutenbergs invention of the moveable type printing press in 1439.
The two edition of Lienhart Holles atlases were published in 1482 & 1486. The 1482 Ulm edition of Ptolemys Geographia was the first edition printed north of the Alps  and the first to appear in color, applied by the publisher.
The 1482 Ulm edition was one of the most important cartographic texts of the early Renaissance and the first edition of the work to be printed outside Italy. The text for this edition was based upon a manuscript translated into Latin by Jacobus Angeli and edited by Nicolaus Germanus that had been brought to Ulm from Rome in 1468. The Ulm Ptolemy was published in 1482 by Lienhart Holle, the same year as Berlingheris Florence edition. Ashley Baynton Williams notes:.........Working independently of Berlinghieri, but apparently using the same or similar models, Holle also added modern maps of Spain, France, Italy and Palestine, but also the first printed map of Scandinavia, composed by Cornelius Clavus, circa 1425-7 . Holles maps were printed from woodcuts, and are characterised by heavy wash colouring for the sea areas, typically a rich blue for the 1482 edition, and an ochre for the 1486 edition. These bright colours, and the greater sense of age that woodcuts convey, make this series the most visually appealing of the Ptolemeic maps.........
Holle went bankrupt shortly after the original publication and the work was taken over by Johann Reger, who issued a second edition in 1486.

This large map is in fine condition on strong sturdy paper, the printing impression is heavy and clear. The colour is original and beautifully applied. There has been professional restoration to the L&R bottom corners. No loss of original paper and restrengthened on the verso. The centerfold has been re-strengthened, on the verso, with some light creasing and rippling.

General Condition:
Paper thickness and quality: - Heavy and stable
Paper color: - off white
Age of map color: - Original
Colors used: - Yellow, green, red, brown.
General color appearance: - Authentic and fresh
Paper size: - 20 1/2in x 15 1/2in (552mm x 397mm)
Image size: -14 1/2in x 14 1/2in x 20 1/4in (369mm x 369mm (upper margin) 511 mm (lower margin)
Margins: - Min 1/4in (6mm)

Imperfections:
Margins: - Light discolouration & soiling.
Plate area: - Bottom L&R corners restored, no loss. Light creasing and rippling
Verso: - Re-enforced along center-fold and L&R bottom corners

Background: The first editions of Ptolemys Geographia Atlas was published in Italy in 1477 and republished in 1478 & 1482. The next atlas to be published was north of the Alps by Lienhart Holle, in Ulm, Germany in 1482. Holles maps were printed from woodcuts, and are distinct with their heavy wash colouring for the sea areas, typically a rich blue for the 1482 edition, and an ochre for the 1486 edition. These bright colours, and the greater sense of age that woodcuts convey, make this series of maps one of the most visually attractive.

Claudius Ptolemy:  (87-150) was an Egyptian astronomer and geographer living and studying in Alexandria. Alexandria was not only the home of the greatest library of any period, but was also one of the most important trade centres between west and east - here Ptolemy could not only study ancient authorities, but could also consult contemporary travellers and merchants. From this wealth of accumulated knowledge, Ptolemy composed his <i>Geographia</i>, a work of considerable genius, which dominated the whole of the Christian and Moslem world for 1,500 years (Tooley).
It was Ptolemy who introduced the concept of latitude and longitude to form a grid to cover the whole world, so that it would be possible to plot the position of principal land-marks on the map by observations, and then fill in other information from other sources, including the notes and Itinerary of Marinus of Tyre, perhaps the most accurate source available.
Unfortunately Ptolemy was hampered by the paucity of observations - as a result he exaggerated the length of the Mediterranean by over 20 degrees -and by lack of information which was often circumvented by invention. Despite these errors, which persisted for nearly 1,500 years, the work was of fundamental importance at a time when little was being done in the way of modern mapping. As a result of this work, which was so far in advance of anything before or anything produced in the next 1,500 years, Ptolemy has earned the reputation and accolade, the father of geography (Tooley).

Re-discovery of the Ptolemy Texts:  Following the fall of the Roman Empire, Ptolemys text was lost to western geographers. The earliest extant manuscript version of the Geographia is Arabic, and probably dates from the 12th Century.  Subsequently, the text was translated into Greek, and circulated through the Greek World. In about 1400 a Greek manuscript came into the hands of the Byzantine scholar, Emanuel Chrysolaras, who was working in Italy.  Chrysolaras undertook a translation of the text into Latin, and completed by his pupil Jacopo dAngelo, in 1406. The Greek manuscript that Angelo translated was apparently lacking maps, but the data in the text contained the information to construct a set of maps, and numbers of scholars set about such work.  Of them, the most influential, was Donnus Nicolaus Germanus, a German cartographer, active in Italy from the 1460s to 1480s.  He was a prolific editor of the text and maps, and his work formed the basis for three of the four sets of Ptolemaic maps printed in the fifteenth Century, with the fourth, accompanying Berlinghieris Geographia, strongly influenced by him .

The first printed versions of Ptolemys Text:  The first published edition of the Geographia with maps, which were probably engraved by Taddeo Crivelli, was issued in Bologna in 1477. Conrad Sweynheym was also working on an edition of Ptolemy in Rome in the same period.  After his death, Arnold Buckinck, saw the atlas through the press, in 1478.  Of the engraved editions of Ptolemys Cosmographia the maps in the Rome edition are the finest fifteenth century examples, and second only to Mercators maps, from his 1578 edition. The atlas proved popular, and three successive editions (to 1508) followed. In 1482, Nicolas Laurentii published a set of Ptolemaic maps to illustrate Francesco Berlinghieri Geographia.
The first edition of Ptolemys Geographia printed outside Italy was published by Lienhart Holle, in Ulm, also in 1482. Holles maps were printed from woodcuts, and are characterised by heavy wash colouring for the sea areas, typically a rich blue for the 1482 edition, and an ochre for the 1486 edition. These bright colours, and the greater sense of age that woodcuts convey, make this series the most visually appealing of these various sets of maps.

Later Editions of Ptolemy:  Next in chronological sequence, and the most unusual of the editions of Ptolemy, was that  published by Jacobus Pentius de Leucho in Venice in 1511, edited by Bernardus Sylvanus. Martin Waldseemullers edition of Ptolemy, first published in 1513, is the most important of the sixteenth century editions.  Waldseemullers edition was reprinted in 1520, and then the maps were re-drawn by Lorenz Fries on a smaller format, for editions published in 1522, 1525, 1535 and 1541. The next to produce an edition of Ptolemy was Sebastian Munster, who worked in Basle.  Munster was one of the leading geographers and cartographers of his period, and he diligently set about revising and improving the maps. Giacomo Gastaldi, one of the leading cartographers of the sixteenth century, composed a set of maps for an edition of the Geographia, published in Venice in 1548.  Of all the editions of Ptolemy, that prepared by Gerard Mercator, and published in 1578, is technically the finest, with the World map being a particularly fine engraving. This atlas is, also, noteworthy for its longevity, the original printing plates were still in use in 1730, over one hundred and fifty years after they were first engraved. (Ref: Shirley 5; Stevenson; Tooley; M&B; MapForum)

$24,999.00 $27,500.00