1721 Senex Map of Switzerland

Switzerland and the country of the Grisons : wherein is described the XIII Switz cantons with their allies... - Main View

1721 Senex Map of Switzerland


Wars of Religion in Switzerland.


Switzerland and the country of the Grisons : wherein is described the XIII Switz cantons with their allies...
  1721 (undated)     16 x 20.75 in (40.64 x 52.705 cm)     1 : 770000


A beautiful, original color example of John Senex's 1721 map of Switzerland, which appeared in his book A New General Atlas containing a Geographical and Historical account of All the Empires, Kingdoms, and other Dominions of the World. It captures the Swiss Confederation at a moment of internal strife due to confessional differences, which resulted in a change in the balance of power within the Confederation.
A Closer Look
The coat of arms of the contemporary thirteen cantons of Switzerland are displayed at left, while additional shields of subject and allied territories (later made cantons of the Swiss Confederation) appear at right and bottom, the most prominent being Grisons, a sort on confederation of multiple linguistically and culturally diverse territories. At bottom-left, above the scale, is a list of the thirteen cantons and their date of joining the (Old) Swiss Confederacy. The often-convoluted boundaries of these polities are marked with hand-colored borders. Rivers, lakes, cities, towns, castles, abbeys, and more are noted in detail.
Confessional Strife
From the early days of the Reformation, Catholics were politically dominant within the Confederation, a problematic point for the large concentrations of zealous Protestants in Zurich and Bern. Although the Swiss Cantons had avoided taking sides in the Thirty Years' War (1618 - 1648), confessional divisions remained and resulted in two civil wars, the First War of Villmergen (1656) and the Toggenburg War (1721, also known as the Second War of Villmergen). The latter occurred in the year this map was published and resulted in greater influence of Protestant cities over Catholic cantons.
Publication History and Census
This map was drawn by John Senex and appeared in his A New General Atlas, published in 1721. Despite being listed seven times in the OCLC, the map is only independently cataloged by eight institutions worldwide, with the Library of Congress, the University of Alabama, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and the Newberry Library holding it in North America, while the entire A New General Atlas is somewhat more widely distributed.


John Senex (1678 - 1740) was an English engraver and map maker active in London during the first half of the 18th century. Senex was born to upper middle class parents in Shropshire, England. As a young man, he was apprenticed to Robert Clavell, a London bookseller and member of the Stationers' Company, under whom he mastered the arts of engraving and printmaking. Around 1702 Senex completed his apprenticeship and established himself as a printer and bookseller in the Strand. A year later Senex partnered with Jeremiah Seller and Charles Price, the successors to the important mapmaker John Seller, and relocated to Cornhill. This was likely Senex's first introduction to mapmaking though he seems to have taken to it with abandon. In the subsequent years Senex established himself as one of the most prominent cartographers in London, publishing a number of beautiful and important maps that today rank among the finest examples from the Golden Age of British Cartography. In addition to a large corpus of flat maps, Senex also produced a number of important and highly desirable globes. Eventually Senex dissolved his partnership with Seller and Price and relocated to Fleet Street, where he maintained offices until his death in 1740. Senex was succeeded by his widow, Mary Senex, who continued to publish and update his works until about 1755, when the remaining globe and map plates were sold to James Ferguson. More by this mapmaker...


Senex, John, A New General Atlas, Containing a Geographical and Historical Account of All the Empires, Kingdoms, and other Dominions of the World..., (London: Daniel Browne) 1721.    


Very good. Slight discoloration along the centerfold. Original outline color.


Rumsey 10014.112. OCLC 12124296, 947856045.