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A rare pair of 17th-Century Italian 10½-inch table globes,
No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VA… Read more
A rare pair of 17th-Century Italian 10½-inch table globes,

A rare pair of 17th-Century Italian 10½-inch table globes,
by Matthaeus Greuter, first reprinting by Giovanni Battista de Rossi, the terrestrial dated 1638 with four cartouches, the largest, copied from Blaeu, in the supposed southern continent, flanked by two navigators, one with a cross staff and the other with a quadrant, and surmounted by a globe, with text in Latin concerning the finding of longitude, the reprinting cartouche in the southern Atlantic Si Stampa da Gio: Batta de Rossi Milanese in Piazza Nauona Roma, the maker's cartouche in the southern Pacific area with text in Latin , ending Matthaeus Greuter Auctor excudit Romæ 1638 and the fourth in North America with text in Latin outlining geographical discoveries, the globe made up of two sets of twelve hand-coloured engraved gores and two polar calottes, the equatorial and prime meridian through the Canary Islands graduated in degrees, alternately shaded and labelled every 10°, the ecliptic similarly graduated but unlabelled, the oceans with a half wind rose at 0°-0°, the Atlantic with two ships and a sea monster and nine small crosses in a diamond shape on the edge of the Carribbean, a note concerning Vasco de Gama's discoveries off the Cape of Good Hope, three ships and two sea monsters in the Pacific Ocean and a note concerning Magellan, and another concerning Magellan and others off Cape Horn, the supposed southern continent labelled PARS ORBIS INCOGNITA sive TERRA AVSTRALIS quæ et MAGELLANICA and coloured green around the coastal area, a further portion of northern coastline shown stretching south-east from Indonesia, the continents with some nation states delicately outlined in green and red and showing mountains and forests in pictorial relief and rivers, cities depicted by a building with a tower, China showing the Great Wall, New Zembla with partial coastline, California shown as an island, Canada with northern coastline obscured by cartouche, Lakes Superior and Michigan with no western shoreline, the latter labelled L. de Puans (general discolouration and wrinkling);
the celestial with the main cartouche over Gemini referring to the discoveries of Tycho Brahe, with the stars arranged for 1636, signed Romae Matthaeus Greuter exc. 1636, the globe made up of two sets of twelve hand-coloured engraved half gores and two polar calottes, laid to the ecliptic poles, a cartouche entitled D. Tycho Brahe Summ' Mathemathi with a portrait of Brahe below Cetus, with another cartouche beneath outlining the precession of the stars based on a rate of 1° 25' in 100 years, the reprinting cartouche above Argo Navis Si Stampa da Gio Batta de Rossi Milanese in Piazza Nauona Roma, the equatorial subdivided to 1° and labelled every 10°, the ecliptic graduated in twelve times 1-30° with 1° subdivisions and sigils for the houses of the Zodiac, the constellations depicted by mythical beasts and figures, the stellar magnitude table over the maker's cartouche showing the stars to six orders of magnitude with nebulae (general areas of discolouration and some rubbing to varnish);
both spheres with an engraved brass meridian circle, the celestial graduated in two quadrants only 0-90°-0, the terrestrial in four quadrants, with a further scale for polar distance, each in an oak table stand with octagonal horizon and hand-coloured engraved ring showing twelve times 1-30° for the houses of the Zodiac with names, sigils and pictures, days of the month with Saint's Days, and wind directions in Latin and Italian (both wrinkled and discoloured, terrestrial much faded), the upper edges of the horizon coloured green-blue, raised on four curved quadrant supports to a short quatrefoil-section scroll-cut pillar on a stepped circular plinth and octagonal base -- 43.5cm. (17 1/8in.) high

See Illustrations
DEKKER, E., Globes at Greenwich (Oxford, 1999)
van der KROGT, P., Old Globes in the Netherlands (Utrecht, 1984)
STEVENSON, E.L., Terrestrial and Celestial Globes (New Haven, 1921)
Special notice

No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis

Lot Essay

Matthaeus Greuter (1566-1638) was born in Strasbourg and learnt engraving in that city before continuing his craft in Lyon and Avignon. An M. Greuter is listed as engraver on the cartouche of a set of gores originating in Lyon around 1626, published by Gulielmus Nicolai (fl.1573-1613). Greuter is reported, however, to have settled in Rome in around 1610 and he certainly published large maps of that city (1618) and of the whole of Italy (1620 or 1630). He was definitely settled in Rome by 1832, however, and it was there that he began publishing globes in 1832 with a terrestrial of 19¼in. diameter, the celestial following in 1836. That year he also published a pair of 10½in. diameter.
Greuter's globes sold widely and successfully in Italy, and were republished after his death by Giovanni Battista de Rossi (fl.1640-1682), an undetermined relative of Giuseppe de Rossi who had produced accurate copies of the Hondius globes in Rome in 1615, and then again in 1695 by another de Rossi, Domenico. An edition from 1744 of the larger terrestrial globe is also recorded, apparently published by a company in Rome named "Calcografia della R.C.A." In Stevenson's learned opinion "so well did he perform his work that he is entitled to rank with the leading globe makers of the Netherlands".
Greuter's celestial globes took their cartography from two main sources: the first, which contributed to the style of the constellation figures as well as the cartography, was the 68cm. celestial globe by Willem Janzs Blaeu (1571-1638) of about 1617. Blaeu's beautiful constellations had been drawn by the artist Jan Pietersz. Saenredam Greuter's cartouche declares that the cartography is based on the work of "that most eminent Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe" (credited also by Blaeu); Brahe (1546-1601) was the foremost astronomical pioneer of the day and the first western astronomer since Ptolomy to produce a completely new star catalogue. Blaeu had visited Brahe's observatory over the winter of 1595 and during this time he made a copy of Brahe's own large celestial globe, which he then used as the basis for his own.
The second source for Greuter's celestial cartography was the celestial globe of Pieter van den Keere and Petrus Plancius (1552-1622). Plancius has been proposed as one of the single most influential and important figures in cartography of the early seventeenth centuries; as well as practising as a preacher in Amsterdam, he collaborated with a number of Dutch globe-makers, most notably Jodocus Hondius (1563-1612). It was Plancius who instigated the Dutch expedition of scientific exploration to the southern hemisphere, following various unsuccessful attempts on the part of Dutch merchants to find a way through the fabled North-West passage. The expedition to find a route around the Cape of Good Hope left Amsterdam on 1595 with twofold instructions from Plamncius: to observe variations of the magnetic compass, and to measure the positions of the stars of the southern celestial hemisphere, invisible year-round from Amsterdam and all other parts of Europe. The results, twelve new constellation figures designed by Plancius, were first immortalised on 1598 on Hondius's 14in. diameter celestial globe. Hondius now dominated Dutch globe-making, and following his death in 1612, Plancius collaborated with brother-in-law Pieter van den Keere (1571-after 1646) an updated pair of globes, this time of 10½in. diameter, and it is these which provided Greuter with the information not contained on the Blaeu globe.



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