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The Only Lafreri School Map of Sri Lanka, Attributed to Antonio Lafreri Himself.

Fantastic engraved map of Sri Lanka, known in the sixteenth century as "Taprobana."

This map was published in Rome in around 1570, as part of a style of mapmaking known as the Lafreri School. This map is attributed to Antonio Lafreri himself by the foremost scholars in the field, including Bifolco and Ronca. It appeared in his catalog as item number 75, entitle "Isola Taprobana." Only one state of the map is known.

The map deviates in presentation from the Ptolemaic mappings of the island that had predominated for nearly a century prior to 1570, although the geography and nomenclature remain much the same. Lafreri's distinctive style is eminently visible on the map, with rounded, smooth topography and Italian-inspired buildings, vessels, and landscapes.

The Lafreri School

The Lafreri School is a commonly used name for a group of mapmakers, engravers, and publishers who worked in Rome and Venice from ca. 1544 to 1585. The makers, who were loosely connected via business partnerships and collaborations, created maps that were then bound into composite atlases; the maps would be chosen based on the buyer or compiler’s interests. As the maps were initially published as separate-sheets, the style and size of maps included under the umbrella of the “School” differed widely. These differences can also be seen in the surviving Lafreri atlases, which have maps bound in with varying formats including as folded maps, maps with wide, trimmed, or added margins, smaller maps, etc.

The most famous mapmakers of the School included Giacomo Gastaldi and Paolo Forlani, among others. The School’s namesake, Antonio Lafreri, was a map and printseller. His 1572 catalog of his stock, entitled Indice Delle Tavole Moderne Di Geografia Della Maggior Parte Del Mondo, has a similar title to many of the composite atlases and thus his name became associated with the entire output of the larger group.

Condition Description
Fine, dark impression. Clean margins.
Bifolco and Ronca 86
Antonio Lafreri Biography

Antonio Lafreri (1512-1577) (also known as Antoine Lafréry and Antoine du Pérac Lafréry) was a French mapmaker, engraver, and publisher who worked in Italy. Lafreri was born in Franche-Comté and moved to Rome around 1540. Lafreri sold sheet maps but he also bound maps into books for his clients based on their interests and needs. These are the famous Lafreri atlases, important pre-cursors to the modern atlas. He also published well known works such as the Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae (ca. 1575), a collection of engraved views and images of Rome. Lafreri was well-connected to the cartographic networks of the time, collaborating with Giacomo Gastaldi, Battista Agnese, Antonio Salamanca, Donato Bertelli, Paolo Forlani, and others.