The Queen Mary Atlas
The Queen Mary Atlas
The Queen Mary Atlas
The Queen Mary Atlas
The Queen Mary Atlas


The Queen Mary Atlas


Regular price $600.00 Sale

Very few of Britain's national treasures relate to the reign of the unpopular Queen Mary I whose persecution of Protestants earned her the nickname Bloody Mary. But the original copy of this atlas, for many years forgotten in the British Museum, is considered to have been commissioned by Mary I as a gift to her husband, Philip II of Spain. The nine richly decorated charts of the world were created by Diogo Homem, a skilled Portuguese mapmaker who may have been living in London at the time. It seems he worked on the atlas from early in Mary's reign but did not finish it until after her death in 1558. It is therefore unlikely to have reached King Philip’s hands.The large world map is the most technically accomplished of the set, bearing Diogo Homem’s signature with the date 1558. All the others are decorated and embellished with criss-cross lines radiating from elaborate compass roses. Many ports and other localities are marked along the coasts but few inland features are shown. Instead, there are imaginative images of local rulers, banners and heraldry, animals (including a rhinoceros), and local scenes such as a Bedouin encampment in North Africa. The maps of the Americas show an astonishing amount of coastal detail, reflecting the many sea voyages of the Age of Discovery. If all this weren't enough, sea monsters and ships enliven the open seas. It is unlikely that Diogo Homem himself provided all these details, instead hiring professional artists to paint such scenes.For its pictorial details and its ornamentation, the Queen Mary Atlas ranks among the grandest of its time period. Holding a crucial place in the history of map-making, it remains a remarkable portrait of the Renaissance world.

Publication Info

  • Publisher: The Folio Society
  • Edition: n/a
  • Date Published: 2005
  • Place Published: London
  • ISBN: n/a


  • Condition: Near fine
  • Signed: No
  • Dust Jacket: No
  • Jacket Condition: n/a
  • Details:
    Facsimile edition of 1,000 numbered copies of which this is no. 84. 59 cm map volume in burgundy leather with gold and black impressing contains 12 full-colour map reproductions. Commentary volume vii, 87 p. 31 cm. 11 colour illustrations in centre section. Burgundy leather. Books contained in 62 cm burgundy cloth-covered box with a bit of wear.

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