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1716 Homann Map of Ireland

Hiberniae Regnum tam in Praecipuas Ultoniae, Connaciae, Laceniae et Momoniae quam in Minores Earundem Provincias - Main View

1716 Homann Map of Ireland


Iconic 18th century map of Ireland.


Hiberniae Regnum tam in Praecipuas Ultoniae, Connaciae, Laceniae et Momoniae quam in Minores Earundem Provincias
  1716 (undated)     22 x 18.5 in (55.88 x 46.99 cm)


An iconic c. 1716 map of Ireland by Johann Baptist Homann. A fine example of Homann's work, this map bears all of the distinctive hallmarks of Homann's style at the height of his career: a strong dark impression, heavy yet detailed engraving work, elaborate allegorical title cartouches, and a rich but tasteful application of color. The prototype of this map was drawn in 1689 by the Amsterdam cartographer Nicholas Visscher II, who Homann credits in the title cartouche. Visscher's map became the model for most future maps of Ireland well into the late 18th century. Homann revised and updated this map to reflect early 18th century changes to the island. Here Ireland is divided into its four provinces, Munster, Connought (Connacht), Leinster (Lenister) and Ulster, then subdivided into numerous counties. Roads, mountains, forests, swamps, rivers, lakes, bridges towns, and even some offshore details are noted. The elaborate title cartouche in the upper right is rich with Gaelic iconography, including the Gaelic Harp and allegorical representations of Pan, a Celtic adaptation of the Roman god Bacchus, and Brigit, the Celtic goddess of poetry, healing and agriculture. Another cartouche in the lower right hand quadrant frames the map's key and four distance scales. Here we see four fisherman pulling in the day's haul, a clear nod to Visscher, who's Dutch name translates to 'Fisherman.' Above the map key itself is the royal crest of the United Kingdom, who at the time laid claim to Ireland. This map was published in various editions from about 1710 to 1750. The addition of Homann's Privilege to the title cartouche suggest this may be the second state of this map, published sometime between 1715 and Homann's death in 1720. In all a fine map example of Homann's work and an important and influential map of Ireland.


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. Nonetheless, he converted to Protestantism in 1687, when he was 23. It is not clear where he mastered engraving, but we believe it may have been in Amsterdam. Homann's earliest work we have identified is about 1689, and already exhibits a high degree of mastery. Around 1691, Homann moved to Nuremberg and registered as a notary. By this time, he was already making maps, and very good ones at that. He produced a map of the environs of N├╝rnberg in 1691/92, which suggests he was already a master engraver. Around 1693, Homann briefly relocated to Vienna, where he lived and studied printing and copper plate engraving until 1695. Until 1702, he worked in Nuremberg in the map trade under Jacob von Sandrart (1630 - 1708) and then David Funck (1642 - 1709). Afterward, 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. Due to the lower cost of printing in Germany, the Homann firm could undercut the dominant French and Dutch publishing houses while matching their diversity and quality. 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 several significant 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 less sophisticated than modern copyright legislation, the Privilege offered 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 firm's management 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...

Claes Jansz Visscher (1587 - 1652) established the Visscher family publishing firm, which were prominent Dutch map publishers for nearly a century. The Visscher cartographic story beings with Claes Jansz Visscher who established the firm in Amsterdam near the offices of Pieter van den Keer and Jadocus Hondius. Many hypothesize that Visscher may have been one of Hondius's pupils and, under examination, this seems logical. The first Visscher maps appear around 1620 and include numerous individual maps as well as an atlas compiled of maps by various cartographers including Visscher himself. Upon the death of Claes, the firm fell into the hands of his son Nicholas Visscher I (1618 - 1679), who in 1677 received a privilege to publish from the States of Holland and West Friesland. The firm would in turn be passed on to his son, Nicholas Visscher II (1649 - 1702). Visscher II applied for his own privilege, receiving it in 1682. Most of the maps bearing the Visscher imprint were produced by these two men. Many Visscher maps also bear the imprint Piscator (a Latinized version of Visscher) and often feature the image of an elderly fisherman - an allusion to the family name. Upon the death of Nicholas Visscher II, the business was carried on by the widowed Elizabeth Verseyl Visscher (16?? - 1726). After her death, the firm and all of its plates was liquidated to Peter Schenk. Learn More...


Homann, J. B., Grosser Atlas Ueber Die Ganze Wel, c. 1716    


Very good. Original centerfold exhibits older verso reinforcement.


Andrew, Bonar Law, The Printed Maps of Ireland 1612 - 1850, 63. Yale University, Beniecke Library, Map Room, 1975 Folio 31. Osher ID: MI-1715-06.