MOLL, Herman (1654-1732)
A New & Exact Map of the Electonate of Brunswick-Lunenburg and ye rest of ye Kings Dominion in Germany
London: H. Moll, T. & J. Bowles, P. Overton & J. King, [circa 1730]. Copper-engraved map, with original outline colour, in excellent condition. Sheet size: 25 1/2 x 41 3/8 inches.
A magnificent map celebrating the ascension of the House of Hanover to the British throne, depicting the new King's German possessions
Herman Moll first printed this map immediately after George I came to the throne of Great Britain. Queen Anne (Stuart) died without heir, and after the legislated exclusion of her close, but Catholic, relatives, her distant Protestant cousin, the Elector of Hanover, was deemed to be her legitimate heir. It is amusing to note that even though George I ruled from 1714 to 1728, it is said that he never learned to speak more than a few words of the "King's English."
This map principally focuses on the large region of northern Germany that was ruled by George, one of the princes of the Holy Roman Empire. As depicted on the map, this realm included the great port of Hamburg, as well as the important cities of Lünenberg and Hanover, and the university town of Göttingen. As noted in the lines and table in the lower-right of the map, this domain contained vast natural wealth, including numerous forests and 110 mines which yielded vast quantities of silver. A cartographic inset in the upper left details the Elector's newest possession, the Duchy of Saxon Lauwenberg. The inset to the upper left depicts the King's triumphal route through the North Sea from Hamburg to London. This grand composition is finished by a spectacular title cartouche featuring all manner of armaments, surmounted by the Royal coat of arms. The King was so delighted by Moll's finished manuscript that he awarded the fellow German "a Gold Medal" as a "mark of his Royal Favour."
The present map was part of Herman Moll's magnificent folio work, a New and Compleat Atlas . Moll was the most important cartographer working in London during his era, a career that spanned over fifty years. His origins have been a source of great scholarly debate; however, the prevailing opinion suggests that he hailed from the Hanseatic port city of Bremen, Germany. Joining a number of his countrymen, he fled the turmoil of the Scanian Wars for London, and in 1678 is first recorded as working there as an engraver for Moses Pitt on the production of the English Atlas . It was not long before Moll became a charter member of London's most interesting social circle, which congregated at Jonathan's Coffee House at Number 20 Exchange Alley, Cornhill. It was at this establishment that speculators met to trade equities (most notoriously South Sea Company shares). Moll's coffeehouse 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 friends, Moll gained a great deal of privileged information that was later conveyed in his cartographic works, some appearing in the works of these same figures. Moll was highly astute, both politically and commercially, and he was consistently able to craft maps and atlases that appealed to the particular fancy of wealthy individual patrons, as well as the popular trends of the day. In many cases, his works are amongst the very finest maps of their subjects ever created with toponymy in the English language.
Shirley, Maps in the Atlases of the British Library I, T.Moll-4b, 20; Cf. Reinhartz, The Cartographer and the Literati: Herman Moll and his Intellectual Circle.