Biographies of Some of the More Famous Cartographers
Henry George COLLINS
Henry George Collins (fl. 1850-1858) was a publisher of maps, atlases and globes who flourished in London during the 1850s. He worked at 22 Paternoster Row until the firm was dissolved in 1859. Collins was responsible for a number of maps of atlases of London, individual counties and the country as a whole. His maps are clear and concise in style – attractive documents of nineteenth century history and geography.
Johannes COVENS & Corneille MORTIER
The output of Covens and Mortier was vast and the business was continued until as late as 1866 by various relatives. Covens and Mortier were responsible for the re-issue of atlases, pocket atlases, wall maps and town plans by such mapmakers as Sanson, Jaillot, Visscher, van der Aa, De L’Isle and De Wit amongst others. Some of their well-know reissues included the Atlas Nouveau or Novus Atlas of Guillaume De L’Isle, the Nieuwe Atlas of Sanson and the Nouvel Atlas by Pieter van der Aa amongst others.
Benjamin Cole was a well-know engraver and mapseller of the eighteenth century. As well as engraving the ward maps that were published in William Maitland’s “Survey of London” in 1754, he was also responsible for the maps published in Edward Wells’s “A New Sett of Maps” and those showing twenty miles around Oxford and Cambridge respectively.
Captain Greenvile COLLINS
Captain Greenvile Collins was one of the most important English mapmakers yet little is known about the man himself. He was an officer in the Royal Navy and served with Sir John Narborough in his expedition to the Straits of Magellan, and subsequently served against Algerian pirates. He was made a commander in 1679 and Charles II granted him the title “Hydrographer to the King”. It was also Charles II who, in 1681, II appointed Collins to undertake a “survey of the seacoasts of the Kingdom by measuring all the Sea coasts with a chain and taking all the bearings of the headlands”.
From 1681 to 1688 Collins was engaged in making this survey, during the course of which he produced some 120 manuscript draughts. Commencing in about 1685 or 1686, the task of engraving the more important of these began, with the maps apparently available separately as they were completed. By 1693 the engraving was complete and the charts were published in atlas form, entitled Great Britain’s Coasting Pilot. This sea-atlas contained 47 charts of the British coast, and proved a great commercial success, although there were criticisms of its accuracy in some quarters.
Collins’ atlas was much needed as, until its publication, British mariners sailing in British waters had been dependent on the earlier sea-charts of the Dutch. With both charts and sailing directions, Collins’ atlas filled a gap in the market, especially when considering the political climate of the day and the Anglo-Dutch Wars of the latter seventeenth century.
As a consequence of its popularity, the atlas was re-issued by the firm of Mount and Page throughout the next century with the addition of some new and up-dated charts. The original plates, which may have been engraved by Herman Moll, are distinctively engraved, often with distinctive title cartouches, and are usually found on thick paper. For most of this time, the Coasting Pilot was the best available sea-atlas of British waters, although the publishers did little to up-date or improve the delineations.
Vincenzo Maria CORONELLI
Vincenzo Maria Coronelli (1650-1718) is widely recognised as one of Italy’s most famous and greatest cartographers. Born in Venice, he received an ecclesiastical education at the convent of the Minor Conventuals and also studied theology in Rome. However, his interests in geography and cartography were awoken early in his ecclesiastical career and never suppressed.
Coronelli constructed two globes for the Duke of Parma and their success insured an invitation to Paris where he was to construct another, very large-scale (some fifteen feet in diameter) pair of globes for Louis XIV. The scale of these globes was such that they were created with trapdoors for the craftsmen to enter so that they could be worked on from the inside as well as from outside. These globes bore painted rather than printed detail.
However, Coronelli went on to produce printed globe gores – these were published in book format in 1697 in the Libri Dei Globi. He also produced a range of pocket-sized globes. This variety, accuracy and attention to detail in his globe-making assured his reputation across Europe. In 1680 Coronelli also founded the oldest surviving geographical society - the Academia Cosmografica degli Argonauti.
As ‘Map-maker Royal’ to Louis XIV, Coronelli was based in Paris from 1681 to 1683. Here he had access to the latest French manuscript records, which he incorporated into his printed maps. Coronelli also published numbers of important maps in conjunction with the French publisher, Jean Baptiste Nolin. Nolin had engraved a set of celestial globe gores for Coronelli in 1688 and went on to become the French publisher of Coronelli’s maps. These maps, although comparable to the Italian versions, are appreciably scarcer, as they seem not to have been included in regularly produced atlases.
Coronelli also published the Atlante Veneto (1691-1696), which was intended as a continuation of the Blaeu Atlas Maior. This vast work comprised some thirteen volumes and a wealth of information. Lists were included of ancient and modern geographers along with astronomical, geographical, historical and ecclesiastical detail. The maps from the Atlante Veneto are engraved in characteristic fine bold style, using the latest geographical information available. Many of the more important maps were engraved on two sheets, to allow greater detail.
Recent research has revealed Cellarius was born around the year 1596 in Neuhausen, a small town near Worms, and studied at Sapierzkolleg in Heidelberg, before enrolling as a student at the University of Heidelberg in 1614. He moved to Holland, where he was to marry, and he died in February/March of 1665, the location of his grave is unknown.
Cellarius published works on fortifications, Poland and wrote a small number of poems before the 1660 Amsterdam publication of the Harmonia Macrocosmica (a reprint appeared in 1661) by Johannes Janssonius, as a cosmographical supplement to his Atlas Novus. Cellarius had already started working on this atlas before 1647 and it was intended to be a historical introduction to a two-volume treatise on cosmography, however, the second part was never published. The plates of the Harmonia Macrocosmica were reprinted (without the original Latin text) in 1708 by the Amsterdam publishers Gerard Valk and Petrus Schenk, and are identified by the publishers’ imprints (lacking in the Jansson editions).
The maps in the Atlas Historique were mainly based on those of the French cartographer, Guillaume De L’Isle, but were presented by the Chatelains in an encyclopaedic form. The accompanying text is in French and often is printed in two columns on the page with maps and other illustrations interspersed. Each map and table is numbered consecutively within its volume and all maps bear the privileges of the States of Holland and West-Friesland.
One of the most remarkable maps from the Atlas Historique is the vast Carte Tres Curieuse De La Mer Du Sud. This spectacular map focuses on North and South America while also incorporating the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Central to the detail is the large depiction of California as an island – a somewhat outdated concept at the time of publication and a contrast to the geographically accurate (relatively) delineation of the Great Lakes and the Mississippi. The Carte Tres Curieuse is also renowned for its illustrations of the New World; beavers are shown at work by Niagara Falls, a fishing factory is in operation in New England, and numerous views of New World cities are also included. Medallion portraits of New World explorers show Columbus, Vespucci, Magellan, Drake, La Salle and Dampier. A magnificent map from a magnificent work.
CAMDEN'S BRITANNIA : William HOLE : William KIP
This failing was remedied in the sixth edition of 1607 for which maps were commissioned from William Kip and William Hole. Drawing on the surveys of Christopher Saxton, John Norden and the Anonymous/William Smith series, they produced a series of 57 maps. The maps are clearly engraved, often with decorative cartouches displaying ships and sea monsters. These maps form an attractive and popular series. A number are the earliest individual maps of some counties that can be obtained - although the maps are predated by those of the Saxton atlas, first published in 1579 and now very rare, Saxton frequently combined counties on one sheet, rather than mapping them separately and Kip and Hole did.
Three editions of the Kip and Hole maps may be found; the first is identifiable by Latin verso text, the second (1610) lacks text while the third (1637) displays an engraved plate number. Such was the popularity of the Britannia with its history and nature of the English and Welsh counties, that the work was re-published under the editorship of Edmund Gibson in 1695 (and then 1722, c.1730, 1753 and 1772) with maps by Robert Morden. Richard Gough (1735-1809), the celebrated English collector and onetime Director of the Society of Antiquaries, also edited a 1789 edition of the Britannia with maps by John Cary.
The frequency with which the Britannia was re-printed and the number of editions, under different editors, with maps by different mapmakers bears testament to the success and popularity of the work.
Cary’s career really began when he was apprenticed to William Palmer, a noted engraver, in 1770, and he soon gained a reputation as a maker of globes, both terrestrial and celestial, becoming the foremost globe-maker of his day. Under Palmer he also learned the delicate art of engraving that was to stand him in good stead for the rest of his career. He set up his own publishing business c.1783 and, with his understanding of engraving and his interest in the country’s growing transport networks at this time, his map publications were well received.
Cary was also to foster the talent of later mapmakers. Aaron Arrowsmith worked for Cary and did much of the research (making measurements and producing drawings) for Cary’s 1784 publication, Great Post-Roads Between London & Falmouth. This relatively early and scarce work illustrates Cary’s interest in the transport network. Many of his later atlases were directed at the traveller and his works were often up-dated as new information about roads became available. For example, in 1790 Cary published the Survey of the High Roads from London that was particularly informative regarding turnpikes and their tolls, and also clearly delineated distances, places of rest and other details pertinent to travellers.
Cary’s New and Correct English Atlas of 1787 that contained county maps was reprinted so many times that by c.1808 the plates had experienced such wear that they had to be replaced. Cary’s Travellers’ Companion of 1790 followed hot on the heels of his first publication success and also enjoyed a long published life. Other renowned atlas works include, amongst others, The New English Atlas published in parts between 1801 and 1809 and then reprinted in atlas form in 1809 and 1811, and also his world atlas, the New Universal Atlas, published in 1808.
Cary also produced a number of separately issued maps including some of London – his clarity, attention to detail and endeavours in the name of accuracy were well employed in delineating the capital’s many streets.
In sum, Cary’s maps are of a very high technical standard, being finely engraved, but are also designed to be functional. The maps strive for accuracy rather than decoration, which emphasises the detail, the accomplished engraving and the clarity of presentation.
The Family COLTON
Joseph Hutchins Colton and George Woolworth Colton were heavily involved in the Colton publishing firm of New York that was founded 1831. The firm’s output was prolific throughout the nineteenth century and the Coltons’ atlases were later re-published by Ivison and by Sheldon & Company.
A resurgence of atlas production in general during the 1840s and 1850s in the United States reflected an emerging mass market fuelled by increased prosperity and mobility. The Colton firm produced large wall maps of the United States and expanded their operations to include gazetteers and atlases. The latter were published from 1855 to 1884. Colton’s maps are often characterized by borders embellished with interweaving vines, marking them as products of the Victorian period.
Christophorous Cellarius (1638-1707) was a professor of Geography at Halle. He is perhaps best known for the “Geographia Antiqua”, which was first published in 1686 with editions being re-printed to 1812.
Philipp Cluver (1580-1623) was a geographer of Danzig who specialised in ancient Geography. He settled in Leiden and his later works were published posthumously by Elzevier.
The Family CREPY
The Crépy family were geographers, engravers, publishers and map sellers working from Paris and Marseille during the eighteenth century. Their output is often difficult to attribute to individual family members, family relationships are uncertain, and, in general, their maps are attributed simply to ‘Crépy’.
The Crépy family were responsible for numerous original maps as well as those based on the works of others such as “L’Empire Anglois En Amérique” after Henry Popple. Their re-issue of George Louis Le Rouge’s “Atlas Nouveau” was first published in 1767 and is a good example of their output.
George Frederick CRUCHLEY
George Frederick Cruchley (1787-1880) was an entrepreneurial mapseller, engraver and globemaker working out of London throughout the nineteenth century.
Cruchley was trained by the well-established Aaron Arrowsmith and later re-issued some of his maps. In 1884 Cruchley also bought John Cary’s plates to further improve his stock. He added railways to Cary’s maps and so brought them up to date.
Some of Cruchley’s earliest and best known items were his “Environs Of London Extending Thirty Miles From The Metropolis” in 1824 and four years later Cruchley’s “New Plan Of London And Its Environs” released at a time when new maps of London were urgently needed. He later went on to re-publish Cary’s “Country Atlas” in 1862.
When Cruchley began to produce maps of places further afield, again often based on the work of his forerunners, he did so as a businessman. His maps were well marketed and affordable. “Outlines Of The World”, published in 1843, was a republication of Arrowsmith’s atlas first published in 1825. Later atlases were aimed at the educational market, a fast growing area, and proof again of his business acumen.
John Roper (1771-c.1810) was a English engraver known to have worked from several locations in London. He engraved the maps, drawn by G.Cole, to accompany Edward W. Brayley and John Britton’s partwork entitled “Beauties of England Wales”. This work was published in 18 volumes between c.1804 and 1810, which was published as “The British Atlas” in 1810 by Verner, Hood and Sharpe. Roper’s maps were also re-issued to illustrate the Reverend J Nightingale’s “English Topography” of 1816 (and other later editions), published by Baldwin, Craddock and Joy – another publishing partnership of the nineteenth century.
August Friedrich Wilhelm CROME
August Friedrich Wilhelm Crome (1753-1833) produced one of the first economic thematic maps of Europe, first published in Dessau in 1782. Crome, a teacher of geography and history at Dessau, became professor of statistics and political economy at Giessen. His map contains a variety of symbols to show the occurence of 56 commodities, along with others to show cities, and ports and annotations regarding natural and manmade regional products, land areas and so on. The map was well received - a fact reflected in the several editions of its publication, although it is now quite scarce.
There were a number of political arithmeticians (including William Petty) in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries who argued that a nation’s wealth and power could be estimated by counting people. Crome extended this argument to assert that the ration of people to geographic area was the “surest sign of culture”. He compared nations using this ration – as illustrated by his map of Europe.
James Cook (1728-1179) was an English navigator and hydrographer. His naval career began in 1755 and he first learned the techniques of surveying from Samuel Holland whilst in Canada on a naval expedition during the Seven Years War. His first engraved and printed chart was of Gaspe Bay in Canada. His time spent in Canada surveying along the Saint Lawrence River earned him the title of ‘Master Surveyor’. Having further studied mathematical and astronomical disciplines, Cook’s charts of the Saint Lawrence and Nova Scotia were published in the “North American Pilot” of 1775 – such was the accuracy of Cook’s survey and map work, that his published charts remained the standard reference for these areas for more than one hundred years.
However, it is for the Pacific voyages that Cook is perhaps best known. The “Endeavour” left England in July 1768 bound for the South Seas with Cook and crew. New Zealand was sighted in October 1769 and Cook spent the following six months charting the coasts. His voyage continued and in April 1770 sighted the coast of Australia – he was the first European to take in this south-eastern coast. The naming of New South Wales and Botany Bay was Cook’s . He returned safely to Dover, England in June 1771.
Cook’s voyages in the Pacific were duly honoured and he became a member of the Royal Society. By 1776 he had volunteered for another voyage – his orders being to explore the north Pacific and confirm or otherwise the existence of a northwest passage. His ships on this voyage were the “Resolution” and the “Discovery”. Cook returned to Tahiti, which he had visited on his previous voyage, and rested his crews there pending the journey north. Christmas Island was discovered, the Sandwich Islands were named and Cook reached the American mainland at Cape Foulweather (in present-day Oregon). Vancouver Island was reached in March 1778. From there Cook continued along the northwest coast and Alaska until ice prevented further exploration.
The “Resolution” and the “Discovery” then returned south. An unfortunate encounter with natives on Hawaii led to Cook’s untimely death and command passed to Charles Clerke. Cook’s contribution to the surveying and mapping of these areas is irrefutable.
Raymond John Howgego, Encyclopedia Of Exploration To 1800, pp.254-261.
John Cassell (1817-1865) was a missionary and entrepreneur, the son of a Manchester publican. In 1848, having moved to London, he founded the publishing company which bore his name. The company’s first cartographic production was “The London Conductor”, published in 1851 as a guide to the Great Exhibition. The company collapsed in 1855 and was taken over by printers Petter & Galpin. Cassell, Petter & Galpin continued to publish and re-issue maps and atlases with great success into the twentieth century.
Cassell’s detailed maps of London were published in the “Weekly Dispatch” in varying forms and the plates from this ‘immense’ map were later used for “Bacon’s Library Map of London and Suburbs”. The maps are notable for their scale and consequently their detail. Street names and buildings of note are all marked with clarity and elegance.
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.