Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2017 Issue

Mapping the Discoveries from Frederik Muller Rare Books

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Mapping the Discoveries.

Frederik Muller Rare Books has released a catalogue titled Mapping the Discoveries. It contains just ten items, all maps or atlases. That explains the "mapping" part of the title. The "discovery" part refers to these all being early maps and atlases, from the Age of Discovery. You might get lost if you tried following one of these maps, as they are mostly based on very limited knowledge of the world, generated by early explorers with the tools to only get general pictures of the lands they visited. Sometimes, these travelers had to rely on the words of others, or even their own imaginations. Still, these maps are fascinating today as they give us a look at what our ancestors thought was out there centuries ago, just as their explorations were beginning. Here are a few of these items.

 

We begin with what is sort of an atlas, though the more accurate term would be portolan. Portolans were sea charts used by navigators, showing directions, distances, harbors and other information essential to navigation. They precede printing, though they became even more important during the age of printing when European sailors explored beyond the limited confines of the Mediterranean, northwest Africa, and Europe, to which they had previously been contained. Item 2 is a specific type of portolan, one known as an "isolario." Isolari were portolan charts of the Aegean Sea, "isolari" referring to the many islands found there, including Cyprus, Rhodes, and many smaller ones. It was a dangerous place to navigate with its rocks and shallow waters if you did not have a chart. This one was produced sometime between 1477-1485 by the Venetian mapmaker known as Bartolomeo dalli Sonetti. His isolario includes 49 charts, showing harbors and obstacles in the sea, along with cities, notable structures, forests and various features on land. Some have been added in manuscript, and this is one of the rare dalli Sonetti isolari to feature contemporary color. Dalli Sonetti's atlas is particularly entertaining as each island has a textual description which is written in verse. He was a mapmaker and poet. Exactly who this Bartolomeo was is unknown, though there are theories. Della Sonetti is not a last name but means "the sonnets," referring to Bartolomeo's poetic skills. Priced at $240,000.

 

The oldest surviving globe was produced by Martin Behaim of Nuremberg, dated 1492. Obviously, Behaim would not have known of Columbus' discovery of a new world, but he did know that Dias had been able to sail around the southern tip of Africa. Behaim was a merchant who traveled to Lisbon for trade. This was at the dawn of the Age of Discovery and he was intrigued by what was starting to be learned. He participated in a journey to western Africa himself before returning to Nuremberg, where he created his globe. Knowing about Dias' voyage, Behaim was able to show all of Africa as a continent, rather than cutting off its southern half. He had enough knowledge to display Asia reasonably, and he knew of Japan. However, being pre-Columbus, there is no America. Between the Canary Islands and Japan there is only the mythical island of Saint Brendan. In 1730, Gabriel Doppelmayer, also of Nuremberg, created the first map of the world based on Behaim's globe. Of course, it has always been difficult to portray a three-dimensional world on a two-dimension map. Doppelmayer has done it by creating a double hemisphere map. The round hemispheres are surrounded by explanatory text and a portrait of Behaim in Doppelmayer's rectangular frame. The map is called Geographische Vorstellung eines Globi... Item 4. $3,500.

 

This next item is not an atlas or a map, but belongs here because of its map. Item 5 is Margarita philosophica nova... by Gregor Reisch. This is the May 31, 1512 edition of a book first published in 1503. It was an encyclopedia, called by some the first modern printed encyclopedia. Subjects include Latin grammar, dialectic, rhetoric, arithmetic, music, geometry, astronomy, physics, natural history, physiology, psychology and ethics. Most of the sections are preceded by full-page woodcuts representing the field. This copy includes the folding map, usually missing. It shows Europe, Asia up through India, and the northern half only of Africa. It also displays the "dragon's tail," a connecting strip of land that runs from east of India south through the Indian Ocean, then turns west and connects to Africa. It turns the Indian Ocean into a great inland sea. However, Reisch evidently knew this aspect of the older map was incorrect as the text states (translated): "this is not land but sea wherein a multitude of islands that were unknown to Ptolemy." $48,000.

 

The first map to depict the New World was published by Martin Waldseemuller in 1507. This map is doubly important since it was the first map to call the new land "America." In 1513, Waldseemuller published an atlas with his world map again displaying America, but this time he called it simply "Terra Incognita," perhaps because by this time he realized it was Columbus, not Amerigo, who discovered the New World. In 1522, Laurent Fries republished what was essentially Waldseemuller's map, except in a reduced size and with a few small changes. In the Fries version, America, which is essentially South America, is shown a little more clearly. It has a definitive southern coast and a western side. Southern and western borders are not visible in Waldseemuller's map which only displays the continent's northeast corner. In this map, Fries has also restored the name "America" to the land. Item 6. $6,000.

 

Frederik Muller Rare Books may be reached at +31 6 5125 9827 or info@frederikmuller-rarebooks.com. They are located in the Netherlands. The website is www.frederikmuller-rarebooks.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN. Autograph Manuscript sketch-leaf part of the score of the Scottish Songs, "Sunset" Op. 108 no 2. [Vienna, February 1818]. Inscribed by Alexander Wheelock Thayer. SOLD for $131,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. SOLD for $516,500
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Autograph Letter Signed ("Papa") to his son Hans Albert, discussing his involvement with the atomic bomb, September 2, 1945. SOLD for $106,250
    <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. Autograph Letter Signed, to Baron von Steuben, with extensive notes of Von Steuben's aide Benjamin Walker, June 12, 1780. SOLD for $16,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. SOLD for $275,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. SOLD for $118,750
  • <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> E.H. SHEPARD, Original drawing for A.A. Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner.<br>$40,000-60,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> BERNARD RATZER, Plan of the City of New York in North America, surveyed in the years 1766 & 1767. $80,000-100,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> THOMAS JEFFERSON, Autograph letter signed comparing Logan, Tecumseh, and Little Turtle to the Spartans. Monticello: 15 February 1821. $14,000-18,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN C. FREMONT, Narrative of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, in the Year 1842.. Abridged edition, the only one containing the folding map From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $3,000-5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ZANE GREY, Album containing 94 large format photographs of Grey and party at Catalina Island, Arizona, and fishing in the Pacific. From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $5,000-$8,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> WILLIAM COMBE, A History of Madeira ... illustrative of the Costumes, Manners, and Occupations of the Inhabitants. produced by Ackermann in 1821; From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ERIC TAVERNER, Salmon Fishing... One of 275 copies signed by Taverner, published in 1931,From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN WHITEHEAD, Exploration of Mount Kina Balu, North Borneo. Whitehead reached the high point of Kinabalu in 1888. Part of a major group of travel books from the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN LONG, Voyages and Travels of an Indian Interpreter and Trader, describing the Manners and Customs of the North American Indians... The first edition of 1791. $3,000-$5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> SAMUEL BECKETT, Stirrings Still. This, Beckett’s last work of fiction with original lithographs by Le Brocquy, limited to 200 copies signed by the author and the artist. From the Estate of Howard Kaminsky.. $1,500-$2,500
  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann, wallpaper sample book, circa 1919. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Archive from a late office of the Breuer & Smith architectural team, New York, 1960-70s. $3,500 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> William Morris, <i>The Story of the Glittering Plain or the Land of Living Men,</i> illustrated by Walter Crane, Kelmscott Press, Hammersmith, 1894. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustave Doré, <i>La Sainte Bible selon la Vulgate,</i> Tours, 1866. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustav Klimt & Max Eisler, <i>Eine Nachlese,</i> complete set, Vienna, 1931. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>Eric Allatini & Gerda Wegener, <i>Sur Talons Rouges,</i> with original watercolor by Wegener, Paris, 1929. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>C.P. Cavafy, <i>Fourteen Poems,</i> illustrated & signed by David Hockney, London, 1966. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jean Midolle, <i>Spécimen des Écritures Modernes...</i>, Strasbourg, 1834-35. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>E.A. Seguy, <i>Floréal: Dessins & Coloris Nouveaux,</i> Paris, 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.

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