MOLL, Herman (1654-1732)
A New and Exact Map of the United Provinces, or Netherlands &c.
London: Moll, Midwinter & T. Bowles, 1710. Copper engraving with period, outline colour. Printed on laid paper. In excellent condition. Sheet size: 25 1/8 x 40 3/4 inches. Plate mark: 24 1/8 x 40 1/4 inches.
A stunning large-scale map of the Netherlands by Herman Moll, the celebrated English cartographer.
Herman Moll came to London around 1678 from Germany. He found work as a cartographical engraver, working for Moses Pitt, among others. By 1688 he had his own shop. Unlike many great cartographers, Moll had a gift for making interesting friends and these included Daniel Defoe, Jonathan Swift (he provided maps for Robinson Crusoe and for Gulliver's Travels), William Dampier and Woodes Rogers, explorer/buccaneer and Robert Hooke, the scientist.
This grand map of the Netherlands exemplifies Moll's particular virtues as a mapmaker. It is drawn on a large scale and has a wealth of geographical details including all the principal towns and major roads. Atlas maps on this scale were a recent innovation, and Moll made scale, readability and what would now be called user-friendliness hallmarks of his style.
There is an inset map of the Channel and the North Sea along with seven panoramic and aerial views of the major towns, including views of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Middelburg, Utrecht, Gronningen as well a plan of Arx Britannica, (an ancient Roman fort at the mouth of the Rhine) and a view of King William's palatial hunting lodge Het Loo . This is a stunning example of Moll's very interesting map and a wonderful impression with period colour.
This map was part of Herman Moll's magnificent folio work, A New and Compleat Atlas . Moll was the most innovative and important cartographer working in London during his era, a career that spanned over fifty years. His origins have been a source of some 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 found himself as 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 contributed maps to Gulliver's Travels and Robinson Crusoe , for instance).
He 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, (this map has a dedicatory cartouche with family crest to Charles, Lord Townshend) 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.
Dictionary of National Biography.