First State of Richard Blome's Map of China.
Finely colored example of Richard Blome's scarce early map of China, with coat of arms and dedication to the Honbl. Sr. Thomas Peylon of Knolton in the County of Kent Baronet.
Unlike most of Blome's maps, the present map is based upon Dutch sources, closely following the Martini map of China popularized by Blaeu. The Great Wall is shown. Korea is a peninsula and the coastline of China and interior details have been greatly improved. Several Chinese provinces are named and delineated with considerable accuracy.
Despite the revisions, there are still some stark inaccuracies. Cambodia is placed west of Siam (Thailand). The Philippines and Formosa are also drawn quite crudely.
A later edition of the map was dedicated to the London Lawyer Thomas Robinson (1682).
The present map is from the first set of large format maps of the World created entirely in Great Britian. While John Speed's atlas was published prior to Blome, the plates were engraved and printed in Amsterdam. The map is engraved by Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-77), the Bohemian etcher famed for his monumental prospect of London in 1647.
The map demonstrates the naïve engraving style characteristic of 17th Century English engravers, and features an elaborate heraldic cartouche with dedications to Blome's patrons, sailing ships and sea monsters. Blome's maps, because of their rarity and importance in the history of English Cartography, are essential items for regional collectors.
Blome first began engraving maps for his Geographical Description Of The Four Parts Of The World in 1667. The completed volume was in small folio, and contained 24 maps (plus one duplicate), engraved by Francis Lamb, Thomas Burnford and Wenceslas Hollar. Blome's principal handicap in the production of the atlas was the lack of a domestic mapmaking environment comparable with that in Europe. Also, to finance his work, he undertook subscribers, in exchange for a promise to add their coat of arms to certain maps. In later editions, if the renewal fee was not paid, Blome added a different subscribers coat of arms, leading to multiple images on various editions of the same map.