Atlas Art

An exhibition at Jonathan Potter Limited in London, running until June 19: Atlas Art — An Exhibition of Decorative Atlas Titlepages:

Decorative titlepages appeared at the beginning of many atlases and geographical works from the mid-sixteenth century onwards as a means of enticing the reader (and indeed the purchaser, as such publications would have been expensive, luxury items) in to the volume. They were intended to offer an encapsulating glimpse of the world depicted on the pages of the atlas beyond, a world that was often new and exciting to the reader during the great periods of exploration and discovery. The pages frequently combine the practical publication details of the volume with allegorical illustration and political commentary.

Book cover: Courtiers and Cannibals, Angels and Amazons The exhibition coincides with the release of Rodney Shirley’s book, Courtiers and Cannibals, Angels and Amazons: The Art of the Decorative Cartographic Titlepage, also available (coincidentally enough) from Jonathan Potter. Via MapHist.

Update, 5/26: This page covers the opening of the exhibition and includes an article by Tom Harper about the art of atlas title pages. Via jpmaps.