Antique World Maps

For sale below is a selection of beautiful antique World Maps and Globe prints. If you are looking for a particular style or cartographer, try the search box on the right hand side or feel free to contact me as I have many more in stock.

To read about antique World Maps, click here.

Antique World Maps


About antique World Maps

Hanging an antique map of the world on your wall says something about you. It says that you understand your place on this great globe of ours, and you understand your place within the folds of time. An antique world map says you are centred, self-aware, confident. Oh, and it’s interesting and looks good too!

The first known attempts to map the world took place in 25 B.C. when Alexandria in Egypt was the centre of the Hellenic world. The geographical heritage of the human race was to rest for more than 1200 years in the work of 2 men, Strabo and Claudius Ptolemy. The one furnishing the key to the past, and the other a pattern for the future.

Strabo – the human approach. Concentrated on mapping places people lived in the habitable world;
Ptolemy – the scientific approach. Figured out how to represent spherical proportions on his flat map. His meridians were straight, the North Pole in the centre, and he represented the parallels as arcs of circles.

According to Strabo all those who undertake the study of geography … must look to the vault of heaven and study astronomy, geometry and meteorology since it unites terrestrial and celestial phenomena.
Very little is know about Ptolemy. He wrote about astrology, music, optics and mathematics, his greatest work is “Syntaxis”, also known as Almagest and his Geographia. He recognised the possibility of Terra Incognita, and left the matter open to further investigation. Many of the conventional signs he used are still being used today.
The most important innovator in World map projections after Strabo and Ptolemy was Gerard Mercator, who published his World Map in 1569.

At the end of the 17th Century a new type of world map appears, known as the “Thematic map of the World”. This is used to shows the distribution of particular phenomena like ocean currents, or wind systems. In the early years of the 19th Century thematic mapping became a major activity in, for instance, the natural sciences.
Alexander Keith Johnston(1804-1871)joined his brother William in a printing and engraving business forming the well known cartographical firm of W. and A.K. Johnston.In 1843 he was appointed Geographer Royal for Scotland. He was the first to study Physical Geography, and in 1848 published the Physical Atlas of which the Glaciers Systems is an example.
John Bartholomew(1831-1893) took over his father’s cartographical Establishment in 1856. This became known as the Edinburgh Geographical Institute and had a reputation of producing the finest cartographical works. He is best known for his colour contouring ( hipsometric tints) which he first showed to great acclaim at the Paris Exhibition in 1878. Examples are World Climate, and World vegetation.

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© Kitty Liebreich 2000-2014
Prices are quoted unframed (except where noted)
and exclude p&p,
all items subject to availability.
Items guaranteed over 100 yrs old unless marked.