This is Johann Baptist Homann's map of Switzerland divided into its thirteen cantons, in an example printed by Homann Heirs for inclusion in Hübner's popular school atlas starting in 1732. It is an evocative map, with the alpine landscape indicated pictorially in profile.
A Closer LookThe map is beautifully engraved, with a baroque, martial cartouche surmounted with putti brandishing weapons. The cartouche is further embellished with the arms of Switzerland's cantons, primary cities, and municipalities. Below the cartouche, soldiers march through a mountainous landscape, drawn by signal fires lit on the mountaintops. In the lower left are two characteristically Swiss vignettes: cows graze in a valley between alpine cliffs, while cattleherds guide their bovine charges atop ludicrously precarious peaks. To the right of this scene is depicted the workings of a Swiss cheese dairy. Not for nothing were the Swiss famous for their cheese: not only was it the principal food of the country, but it also was used as currency.
Publication History and CensusThis map was first engraved for inclusion in Homann's atlases; the earliest example we see was bound in a 1712 edition of Homann's Atlas Novus Terrarum Orbis Imperia Regna. After Homann's death, his heirs continued to use the map in their variously-titled school atlas, intended to accompany Johann Hübner's geographical course. As is often the case with the Homann Heirs maps, we see examples of the map printed from no fewer than two plates, with these showing multiple changes. None of these, to our knowledge, have been given a comprehensive bibliography. We identify two different plates with an engraved date of 1732 in the upper margin, such as the present example. Maps with this date are well represented in institutional collections, but it is not at all clear when the various plates were actually printed.
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...
Homann Heirs (1730 - 1848) were a map publishing house based in Nurenburg, Germany, in the middle to late 18th century. After the great mapmaker Johann Baptist Homann's (1664 - 1724) death in 1724, 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). Learn More...
Homann, J. B., Atlas Novus Terrarum Orbis Imperia Regna, (Nuremberg: Homan) 1716.
Good. Small visible stain, some printers' smudging. Else very good with original outline and wash color.
OCLC 60345235. Rumsey 12499.081 (1716).