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Description

A finely engraved allegorical frontispiece by the eminant cartogapher Vincenzo Maria Coronelli.

This highly attractive composition features the Royal Arms of England, including a garter featuring the motto: 'Honi Soit Mal Qui Pense' (Evil to him who thinks Evil). Below is the allegorical figure of Hercules bearing a tablet with another English royal motto: 'Dieu et Mon Droit' (God and my Right). To the right is the personification of the Enlgish Empire, 'Britannia', bearing the sceptre and orb of royal authority. To the right is St. George, the patron saint of England, slaying a Dragon. Likwise, Britannia and Hecules are shown to be vanquishing Britain's enemies below. The rhetoric is one of unadulterated Anglo power during a period when England was engaged in a long series of wars with Louis XIV's France.

Vincenzo Maria Coronelli (1650-1718) was one of the leading cartographers and globe-makers of the Baroque era. Born in Venice, he apprenticed as a xylographer, before joining the Franciscan order in 1665. Around 1678, after studying Astronomy, Coronelli began working as a geographer and was commissioned to make a set of Terrestrial and Celestial Globes Ranuccio II Farnese, the Duke of Parma, which were 5 feet in diameter. Coronelli was next invited to Rome to construct a similar pair of Globes for Louis XIV. From 1681 to 1683, Coronelli lived in Paris, where he constructed a pair of 10 foot diameter globes for the King that weighed 4000 pounds. These spectacualr globes are today on display at the Bibliotheque nationale de France (Paris).

Coronelli the returned to Venice where he published his great atlas, the Atlante Veneto (1698) and founded the Accademia Cosmografica degli Argonauti, the world's first geographical society.

Vincenzo Maria Coronelli Biography

Vincenzo Maria Coronelli (1650-1718) is one of the most influential Italian mapmakers and is known especially for his globes and atlases. The son of a tailor, Vincenzo was apprenticed to a xylographer (a wood block engraver) at a young age. At fifteen he became a novice in a Franciscan monastery. At sixteen he published his first book, the first of 140 publications he would write in his lifetime. The order recognized his intellectual ability and saw him educated in Venice and Rome. He earned a doctorate in theology, but also studied astronomy. By the late 1670s, he was working on geography and was commissioned to create a set of globes for the Duke of Parma. These globes were five feet in diameter. The Parma globes led to Coronelli being named theologian to the Duke and receiving a bigger commission, this one from Louis XIV of France. Coronelli moved to Paris for two years to construct the King’s huge globes, which are 12.5 feet in diameter and weigh 2 tons.

The globes for the French King led to a craze for Coronelli’s work and he traveled Europe making globes for the ultra-elite. By 1705, he had returned to Venice. There, he founded the first geographical society, the Accademia Cosmografica degli Argonauti and was named Cosmographer of the Republic of Venice. He died in 1718.