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1747 Basire / Cellarius Map of Sicily

Sicilia. - Main View

1747 Basire / Cellarius Map of Sicily


The Forge of the Gods.


  1747 (undated)     7.5 x 11.5 in (19.05 x 29.21 cm)


This is Isaac Basire's scarce map of Sicily, Italy, with a vignette of Hephaestus' forge at work under the erupting volcano Mt. Etna. This detailed map of the island includes an inset in the upper left showing Sicily's position with respect to Carthage and Malta. The map is a copy of Christoph Cellarius' Sicilia Antiqua, published in his 1686 Geographia Antiqua.
Publication History and Census
This map was engraved by Isaac Basire and included in the 1747 Sale An Universal History, although the wear suggested by the strike exhibited here suggests it may hail from a later edition. An Universal History is well represented in institutional collections, although this separate map is not catalogued in OCLC. Examples do appear on the market from time to time.


Isaac Basire (September 20, 1704 - August 24 1768) was a London engraver, first in a family line of prolific and well-respected engravers. His most well-known work is the frontispiece to an edition of Bailey's 1755 dictionary but he was primarily a map engraver. He was born in London to on J. Basire, a Huguenot emigre from Rouen. His son James (1730-1802), grandson James (1769-1822), and great-grandson James (1796-1869) all continued the family trade. Assigning specific works to particular members of the family is not a straightforward task, as all four Basires were engravers, one often as apprentice to his father. Thus the work of the four frequently overlapped. More by this mapmaker...

Christoph Cellarius (1638 - 1707) or, more commonly, Christopher Keller was a German scholar, historian and textbook publisher working in the later part of the 17th century. Cellarius is known to have been born in Schmalkalden and to have held academic positions in both Weimar and Halle. C. Cellarius's most important contribution was his 1683 publication of A Universal History Divided into an Ancient, Medieval, and New Period. It was in this work that the concept of history as divisible into three distinct periods (Ancient History, Mediaeval History, and Modern History) was introduced. Likely Cellarius never understood the impact that his structured system of historical nomenclature would have on the way future historians would interpret the past. Christopher Cellarius should not be confused with the more widely known cosmographer Andreas Cellarius Learn More...


Sale, George, Universal History, from the Earliest Account of Time, (London) 1747.    


Trimmed into border with some loss. Re-cornered at right hand corners. Mended split at fold.