By: Herman Moll
Date: 1720 (circa) London
Dimensions: 38.25 x 22.25 (97.15 x 56.51 cm)
This extraordinary double hemisphere map of the world displays an enormous amount of information, curiosities, beauty, and opinions of its creator in an elaborate combination of mapping, text, diagrams, and decorative cartouche.
In North America, California is shown as an island, a large western river connect to the Mississippi, the Pacific Northwest is left blank and labeled as parts unknown, and much of the continent is shown to be dominated by Indian and savage villages. Some early colonies are shown as well as Charles Town, St. Augustine, and James Town. South America still features an oversized eastern bulge to the continent as well as numerous false lakes. Africa contains the large unknown area within Ethiopia remained “unexplored or unknown” for about another hundred years. Asia features Nova Zembla to the north and Iesso (Hokiado) shown connected to northeastern Siberia with the Company land coast mapped just east. Australia or New Holland lacks an eastern coast line and is not sufficiently shown to be separate from New Guinea. An incomplete Tasmania and New Zealand lay to the south and east.
Surrounding the map are numerous astronomical diagrams that include Ptolemaic and Copernican versions of the solar system, appearances of the sun and moon as well as representations of Mercury, Venus, Mars and Saturn. Below the banner cartouche is a view of the north pole with much of the western hemisphere labeled “parts unknown.” A great deal of text surrounds the map. At the top, Herman Moll explains the arrows throughout his map representing trade winds and monsoons, and that some lands are labeled not found as it is best to name them unknown than rely on ignorant guessing to map display them on the map. Within the text at the bottom he scrutinizes Dutch map makers, in particular Nicolas Sanson with intent to exploit their inadequacies and inaccurate use of longitude and latitude with regard to the mapping of new lands. At the bottom center of the map, a lovely cartouche featuring cherubs, mermen, gods of the sea and a fleet of ships surrounding an elaborately bordered text that dedicated the entire map to his majesty, King George II.
Condition: Map is in B+ condition with professional restoration that includes stabilization of splitting along the borders and some folds as well as old paper strip reinforcements with adhesive or Japanese tissue paper. Map displays original color and healthy margin all around.
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