A Photographic Record of the Now-Lost Kuntsmann IV Portolan Map of the World.
As far as we have been able to deduce, this is the only known large-format photograph of the now-lost Kuntsmann IV, the Jorge Reinel world map of 1519, one of the great early world maps to show the New World.
The original Reinel map was held in the Armeebibliothek Munich until 1945 when it was stolen or destroyed. In 1843, it was reproduced as a hand-drawn facsimile which is now held by the BNF. Other than this photograph, that manuscript map is the only other extant large version of the original Reinel.
The original map was also photographed by Armando Cortesao before 1935 and the result appears in his 6-volume catalog of early Portuguese charts and maps Portugaliae Monumenta Cartografica.
The photo was produced by Edward Luther Stevenson sometime around the end of the 19th century or the first decade of the 20th century.
Edward Luther Stevenson was among the most important scholars of early cartography active at the end of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th. He was responsible for numerous cartobibliographic books, including the first translation of Ptolemy to English, as well as a series of impressive facsimile maps produced while he was at the Hispanic Society of New York. Dr. Stevenson viewed facsimiles as integral to the study of early cartography, and he committed himself to building an unparalleled collection of photographs of early maps and globes. Much of his collection was donated to Yale University after his death (click on the title link above for about that), but the present item comes from a large collection of photos, manuscripts, and related material that were part of Stevenson's library, but were not donated to Yale. It is truly an impressive collection and many of the items, though reproductions, have serious antiquarian merit. As Alexander O. Vietor said about Stevenson collection that went to Yale "this is the stuff of which great libraries are made."