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Description

Striking example of Matthaus Merian's map of the British Isles, showing England, Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man, and Ireland. Part of Flanders and the Netherlands are visible, and a curious inset shows the Orkneys. This inset refers to Mainland by the name Pomona, the result of mid-16th century mistranslation of Solinus. The rest of the map is very detailed, showing all the important features which define the landscape of the Isles. The map includes a large cartouche, ships sailing, a compass rose, and the coat of arms of the United Kingdom.

Ireland is divided into its four provinces, Leinster, Munster, Ulster, and Connacht. The many Loughs of this glacier-scarred landscape are exaggerated, and the island nearly resembles an archipelago. The lochs of Scotland receive a similar treatment, with Loch Ness and Loch Lochy connected to the ocean. The Inner and Outer Hebrides are all shown, though their shapes are distorted. England retains a generally accurate composition, though some curiosities do remain. The fenlands are crisscrossed with rivers, reflecting their undrained nature. Historic counties are hinted at, though not always correctly.

Matthaus Merian Biography

Mathaus Merian (1593-1650) was the father of engraver Matthäus the Younger, and of the painter, engraver, and naturalist Maria Sibylla Merian. He was born in Basel, Switzerland and trained in engraving in Zurich. After a time in Nancy, Paris and Strasbourg, he settled in Frankfurt. While there, he worked for Johann Theodor de Bry, the publisher and son of the travel writer. In 1617, he married Maria Magdalena de Bry, Johann Theodor’s daughter. In 1623, Merian took over the de Bry publishing house upon the death of his father-in-law. Merian’s best known works are detailed town views which, due to their accuracy and artistry, form a valuable record of European urban life in the first half of the sixteenth century