1715 Homann Map of Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey
Description: An exceptionally beautiful example of J. B. Homann's c. 1715 map of Virginia, Carolina, Maryland, and New Jersey; considered one of the most important and decorative maps of is region to appear in the 18th century. This fine decorative map covers from New York City and Long Island south along the Atlantic Cost as far as modern day Georgia, and as far west as Lake Erie. Homann drew this map in response to Virginia Lieutenant-Governor Alexander Spotswood's plan to settled the little known interior of Virginia with German immigrants. Shown here is the first mapping of Germantown Teutsche Statt on the Rappahanock River and Fort Christanna (Christ Anna Fort) on the Makharing River. Fort Christanna was built with the intention of defending the region against incursions from hostile American Indian groups such as the Tuscarora to the west. Christanna also acted as the headquarters of the Virginia Indian Company, a stock venture founded in 1714 with the intention of trading with indigenous groups in the interior.
Though Homann's remarkable representation of Spottswood's plan is extraordinarily up-to-date considering that Fort Christana was founded in the same year that this map was initially published, the remainder of the map embraces a number of common misconceptions and cartographic inaccuracies common to the region. Probably the most notable of these is his inclusion of Apalache Lacus. This fictional lake, the source of the May River, appeared on maps of this region since the mid 16th century Le Moyne-De Bry map and was popularized by Mercator and Hondius in 1606. It would remain on maps well into the mid 18th century before exploration and settlement finally disproved the theory.
Further north Lake Erie and been expanded dramatically and shifted somewhat to the south where it takes on the appearance of a vast inland sea occupying the entire northwestern quadrant of the map. This region, west of the English colonies and north as far as Pennsylvana, Homann attaches to the Spanish claims in Florida.
Homan's also offers a wealth of detail along the Atlantic coast, where most of the European colonization efforts were focused. From Long Island, about two-thirds of which is shown, south to Craven County, Carolina, countless towns and cities are identified. New York City is mapped on the southern tip of Manhattan Island, but is not specifically labeled. New Jersey is divided into the colonial provinces of East New Jersey and West New Jersey. Curiously Homann maps a large inland lake "Zuyd Lac" straddling the New Jersey - Pennsylvania border. This is no doubt a early misinterpretation of the natural widening of the Delaware River at the Delaware Water Gap. Heading south along the Delaware River Philadelphia is identified and beautifully rendered as a grid embraced in four quadrants. Both the Delaware Bay and the Chesapeake Bay are rendered in full and even include a number of undersea notations and depth soundings. In Virginia and Carolina the river systems are surprisingly well mapped and a primitive county structure is beginning to emerge. The early Virginia counties of Rappahannock, Henrico, City, Isle of Wright, Nansemond, Northumberland, Middlesex, Gloster and Corotvk are noted. Similarly in Carolina a number of counties are named, most of which refer to the Lords Proprietors, including Albemarle, Clarenden, and Craven. Cape Fear, Cape Lookout, and Cape Hattaras are noted and a number of anchorages, reefs, and depth sounding are noted along the entire coastline.
The lower right quadrant of this map is occupied by a fabulous decorative title cartouche. Centered on an enormous scallop shell bearing the map's title and Homann's Privilege, the cartouche features a number of stylized American Indians trading with European merchants. The wealth of the region is expressed by an abundance of fish, game, and other trade products. Curling behind the scallop shell is a gigantic stylized alligator looking like nothing so much as a mediaeval dragon. The inclusion of Homann's Provildge in the title cartouche helps us to date this map to about 1715, when Homann was granted the right to add this royal distinction to his maps.
Published by J.B. Homann in his Atlas Novus. This map appeared in various Homann atlases from about 1714 to 1730.
Date: 1715 (undated)
Source: Homann, J. B., Altas Novus, c. 1715.
References: Cummings, D., The Southeast in Early Maps, 156. Prichard, M. B. and Taliferro H. G., Degrees of Latitude - Mapping Colonial Maerica, 17. Morrison, R., On the Map: An Exhibit and Catalogue of Maps Relating to Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay Honoring George Washington at the Beginning of the Third Century of Washington College at Chestertown, Maryland, #27. Phillips (America) p. 982. Van Ermen, E., The United States in Old Maps and Prints, #25. Papenfuse, E.C. and Coale, J. M., The Hammond-Harwood House Atlas of Historical Maps of Maryland, 1608-1908, p. 24, fig. 25. Library of Congress Geography and Map Division, G3700 1714 .H6 Vault. New York Public Library, Map Division, Map Div. 01-5082.
Cartographer: Johann Baptist Homann (March 20, 1664 - July 1, 1724) was the most prominent and prolific map publisher of the 18th century. Homann was born in Oberkammlach, a small town near Kammlach, Bavaria, Germany. As a young man Homann studied in a Jesuit school and nursed ambitions of becoming a Dominican priest before converting to Protestantism in 1687. Following his conversion, Homann moved to Nuremberg and found employment as a notary. Around 1693 Homan briefly relocated to Vienna, where he lived and studied printing and copper plate engraving until 1695. Afterwards he returned to Nuremberg where, in 1702, he founded the commercial publishing firm that would bear his name. In the next five years Homann produced hundreds of maps and developed a distinctive style characterized by heavy detailed engraving, elaborate allegorical cartouche work, and vivid hand color. The Homann firm, due to the lower cost of printing in Germany, was able to undercut the dominant French and Dutch publishing houses while matching the diversity and quality of their output. By 1715 Homann's rising star caught the attention of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles the VI, who appointed him Imperial Cartographer. In the same year he was also appointed a member of the Royal Academy of Sciences in Berlin. Homann's prestigious title came with a number of important advantages including access to the most up to date cartographic information as well as the "Privilege". The Privilege was a type of early copyright offered to a few individuals by the Holy Roman Emperor. Though not as sophisticated as modern copyright legislation, the Privilege did offer a kind of limited protection for several years. Most all J. B. Homann maps printed between 1715 and 1730 bear the inscription "Cum Priviligio" or some variation. Following Homann's death in 1726, the management of the firm passed to his son Johann Christoph Homann (1703 - 1730). J. C. Homann, perhaps realizing that he would not long survive his father, stipulated in his will that the company would be inherited by his two head managers, Johann Georg Ebersberger and Johann Michael Franz, and that it would publish only under the name Homann Heirs. This designation, in various forms (Homannsche Heirs, Heritiers de Homann, Lat Homannianos Herod, Homannschen Erben, etc..) appears on maps from about 1731 onwards. The firm continued to publish maps in ever diminishing quantities until the death of its last owner, Christoph Franz Fembo in 1848. Click here for a list of rare maps from Johann Baptist Homann.
Size: Printed area measures 23.5 x 19.75 inches (59.69 x 50.165 centimeters)
Condition: Very good, near flawless example. Minor closed repairs extending about one inch into the map along the Hudson River. Original centerfold almost indiscernible. A few old manuscript notations on verso.
Code: VirginiaMarylandiaCarolina-homann-1715 (to order by phone call: 646-320-8650)