Striking large format map of Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Finland and the Baltic Countries and extending south to the Black Sea and the Balkans, with an ornate dedication cartouche to Peter the Great, including a portrait of the Czar near the bottom of the cartouche.
The map includes a number of interesting annotations, most notably the note in the upper right above the cartouche which provides that Moll has drawn the map from a map prepared by Cornelis Cruis, John Thesing and Captain Pamburg, at the direction of the Czar, with improvement and corrections from Captain John Perry. The map also includes inset maps showing the course of the Wolga River, the mouth of the Don River and the area contiguous to the White Sea.
Cornelis Cruis (Cruys) (1655-1727) was Vice Admiral of the Imperial Russian Navy and the first commander of the Baltic Fleet. He was born as Niels Olsen (Olufsen) in Stavanger, Norway, before changing his name. Cruys lived in Amsterdam for 18 years before joining the Russian Navy. Cruys' introduction to the Russian Navy was a direct result of Czar Peter the Great's Grand Embassy of 1697, which included a visit to Amsterdam to study ship building and related arts. With the assistance of Nicolaas Witsen, Mayor of Amsterdam, the Czar gained access to the shipyard of the Dutch East India Compnay for 4 months, where he recruited Cornelis Cruys to join the Russian Imperial Navy as Vice Admiral. Here he became the primary architect of the westernization of the Russian Navy. Among other accomplishments, he made the first maps of the Don River and the Azov Sea.
Herman Moll (c. 1654-1732) was one of the most important London mapmakers in the first half of the eighteenth century. Moll was probably born in Bremen, Germany, around 1654. He moved to London to escape the Scanian Wars. His earliest work was as an engraver for Moses Pitt on the production of the English Atlas, a failed work which landed Pitt in debtor's prison. Moll also engraved for Sir Jonas Moore, Grenville Collins, John Adair, and the Seller & Price firm. He published his first original maps in the early 1680s and had set up his own shop by the 1690s.
Moll's work quickly helped him become a member of a group which congregated at Jonathan's Coffee House at Number 20 Exchange Alley, Cornhill, where speculators met to trade stock. Moll's circle included the scientist Robert Hooke, the archaeologist William Stuckley, the authors Jonathan Swift and Daniel Defoe, and the intellectually-gifted pirates William Dampier, Woodes Rogers and William Hacke. From these contacts, Moll gained a great deal of privileged information that was included in his maps.
Over the course of his career, he published dozens of geographies, atlases, and histories, not to mention numerous sheet maps. His most famous works are Atlas Geographus, a monthly magazine that ran from 1708 to 1717, and The World Described (1715-54). He also frequently made maps for books, including those of Dampier’s publications and Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. Moll died in 1732. It is likely that his plates passed to another contemporary, Thomas Bowles, after this death.