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1729 Homann Map of the coastal Borderland of Norway and Sweden

Tractus Norvegiae Suecicus Praefecturam Bahusiae. - Main View

1729 Homann Map of the coastal Borderland of Norway and Sweden


Sweden's Prize in the Second Northern War.


Tractus Norvegiae Suecicus Praefecturam Bahusiae.
  1729 (dated)     18.75 x 21.75 in (47.625 x 55.245 cm)     1 : 450000


This is a detailed and elegant map, engraved in 1729 by Johann Christoph Homann, of the Swedish province of Bohuslän, and parts of Dalsand and of Västergötland on the coastal border of Sweden and Norway. After Sanson's comparatively rudimentary Gouvernement de Bahus of 1668, this is the first map to focus on this region in detail.
A Closer Look
The map covers the North Sea coast from Gothenburg to the Norwegian fortress city of Fridrichstadt. There are two inset views - the fortified island of Marstrant, and the castle of Bahus. (The latter derived from a 1697 view by Samuel von Pufendorf.) Additionally, two inset plans detail the fortifications at Gothenburg and Wennersburg. A martial cartouche presents a stylized fortress in the water, flanked by armed mermen. One, brandishing a sword, carries a shield emblazoned with the Swedish arms. Surmounting the cartouche, a lion (representing Sweden) rests possessively atop the arms of Bohuslän, characterizing Sweden's attitude towards this borderland with Norway. (Bohuslän had been Norwegian territory until the 1658 treaty of Roskilde, in which Denmark and Norway were forced to cede the county and Skåneland to Sweden following the Second Northern War.) The map clearly evokes the provinces island-strewn coast yet understates the approximately three thousand islands that make up the Gothenburg archipelago. In the eastern part of the map, between Dalsand and of Västergötland, is Lake Vänern, the largest in Europe.
Publication History and Census
This map may have been engraved by the elder Homann, but it was completed and published in 1729 by his son Johann Christoph for inclusion in the Homann atlases. We see only a single state of this map, of which perhaps twenty are cataloged in institutional collections.


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, Homann 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 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 very few 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 1724, 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 (1695 - 1760) and Johann Michael Franz (1700 - 1761), 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 (1781 - 1848). More by this mapmaker...


Very good. Visibly toned at centerfold, else excellent with rich original color.


OCLC 165631376. Rumsey 9753.056. Not in Ginsberg.