Magnificent Maps: Power, Propaganda and Art

Overview

Maps are often as much a visual art form as they are a practical tool for navigation. Of particular visual interest are display maps—maps that often used size and beauty to convey messages of regional and social status and power. Despite their historical significance, many of these display maps have been lost and destroyed over time. Magnificent Maps brings together the best surviving examples in order to illustrate their role in early modern Europe and describe the settings in which they were displayed.

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Overview

Maps are often as much a visual art form as they are a practical tool for navigation. Of particular visual interest are display maps—maps that often used size and beauty to convey messages of regional and social status and power. Despite their historical significance, many of these display maps have been lost and destroyed over time. Magnificent Maps brings together the best surviving examples in order to illustrate their role in early modern Europe and describe the settings in which they were displayed.

            Most of the maps collected in Magnificent Maps date from the period 1450 to 1800, the heyday of this approach to mapping. During their time, these maps were displayed in a range of settings, from palaces to schoolrooms to bedchambers, and Peter Barber and Tom Harper here offer vivid descriptions of their original settings and examine their dual roles as propaganda and art.

Drawn from one of the greatest collections in the world at the British Library, many of these maps will be completely new even to experts. The unusual aspect of cartography presented in Magnificent Maps will appeal to collectors, historians, mapmakers and users, as well as anyone curious about the many ways we have come to illustrate and define our world.

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Editorial Reviews

David Coombs' ArtNewsLetter
“There can be no better recommendation for the interest and authority shown throughout the pages of [this] book.”
Imago Mundi

“This book is a joy to read, as well as a joy to look at: it is a rare combination of visual beauty and intellectual insight.”

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780712350921
  • Publisher: British Library, The
  • Publication date: 9/1/2010
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 9.40 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Barber is head of map collections at the British Library and the author of many books, including The Map Book. Tom Harper is Curator of Antiquarian Mapping, also at the British Library.

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