One of the most decorative eighteenth century world maps. This J.B. Homann’s double hemisphere map of the world is richly embellished with celestial models of the northern and southern hemispheres and other natural phenomena such as waterspouts, a rainbow, earthquakes, and the Mt. Etna in Sicily erupting. Wind heads occupy the starry heavens, and two cherubs hold the title banner aloft. The map includes many famous cartographic inaccuracies with an unusually elongated northwest coastline in North America, labeled Terra Esonis. It also shows an incomplete Australia, although with place names and notes of the early discoverers included. The east coast of New Zealand is shown, along with the Tracts of Tasman’s 1642 voyage and Magellan’s Voyage. The detail in Southeast Asia is very interesting for the period, as is the treatment of Japan. Interesting text panels at bottom describe the natural phenomena.
Johann Baptist Homann (1663-1724) was a mapmaker who founded in 1702 the famous Homann Heirs publishing company specialized in engravings.
The firm flourished, becoming the leading map publisher in Germany and an important entity in the European map market. In 1715, Johann was named Imperial Geographer to the Holy Roman Empire by Charles VI and made a member of the Prussian Academy of Sciences. Most importantly for his business, his reputation and contacts gained him imperial printing privileges which protected his publications and recommended him to customers. After Johann died in 1724, the business passed to his son, Christoph (1703-1730). Upon Christoph’s early death, the company passed to subsequent heirs, with the name of the company changing to Homann Erben, or Homann Heirs. The firm continued in business until 1848.