The Mapmakers' World

A Cultural History of the European World Map

Marjo Nurminen

The Mapmakers' World illuminates the cultural history of European world maps: what do historical world maps tell of us, of our perception of the world, and of places and peoples that are foreign to us? For what purposes were they used? The answers to these and other questions open up a fascinating narrative of discovery and cartography.
Publication date:
September 2015
Publisher :
Casemate Publishers
Editor :
Peter Barber
Contributor(s) :
Juha Nurminen
Illustration :
300 colour & b/w maps
Format Available     Quantity Price
ISBN : 9781910860007

Dimensions : 345 X 255 mm
This book is temporarily out of stock.

Regular Price: £50.00

Special price £19.95


• Lavishly illustrated comprehensive history of European world map in one beautifully produced volume
• One thousand years of art, science, exploration, power and propaganda
• Based on the latest academic research
• Great illustrations of maps, paintings from the finest private and public collections as well as specially commissioned diagrams
• Tells the exciting story of how cartographers first fully imaged the globe

The Mapmakers' World illuminates the fascinating cultural history of European world maps: what do historical world maps tell of us, of our perception of the world, and of places and peoples that are foreign to us? Who were the makers of these early world maps? How were the maps created and for whom were they drawn and printed? For what purposes were they used? What kind of information did they pass on? The answers to these questions open up a fascinating narrative of discovery and cartography relating not only to ideology and political power but also the histories of art and science.

Rigorously researched and informed by latest academic findings, The Mapmakers' World is beautifully illustrated presenting some 300 maps from the world's finest museums, libraries and private collections. The book gives us a revealing and captivating perspective on the development of European world maps from the Early Middle Ages up until the modern period, i.e. from the 8th century until the end of the 18th century.

The Mapmakers' World is a major work which ambitiously showcases all of the early European world map traditions: Medieval world maps (T-O maps, mappa mundis, Beatus maps, etc.); Ptolemy's maps; seafarers' maps (portolan charts, planispheres and nautical charts), printed world maps and globes from the pre-Renaissance through to the Baroque era.

Furthermore, The Mapmakers' World takes its readers through the history of European global discovery and cartographic research, and also brings to life the exciting times when many of these historical maps were first discovered in the 19th century, after centuries of oblivion. The volume includes dedicated features further exploring 100 of the most important cartographic masterpieces from the period. The book is written as an exciting, flowing narrative, rather than a catalogue or an encyclopedia, and it takes the reader on the ultimate voyage of discovery.


The Mapmakers' World delivers an ambitious thesis with style. Paper and printing are superb, and the enormous number of colour illustrations make this a many-layered work that includes rarely seen portraits of leading mapmakers, exquisite enlargements of map detail and expositions on the evolution of map-making techniques. … This magni­ficent book is a monument to the effort and ingenuity that Europeans have devoted to understanding the wider world, a quest continuing to this day, and one that still relies on maps.
Geographical Magazine

Your reviewer has to say that this is the most beautiful volume that has landed on his writing desk for a long time. … The illustrations are superb and the book is produced to a very high quality. The deluxe big format and the large-scale full color reproductions throughout ensure a feast for the eyes; the volume is also a joy to handle. … Though this work is outside our usual book subjects of ship models, modelling, ships and maritime history, we are sure it will appeal to many of our readers.
Ships in Scale

'A fine and very enjoyable read that adds considerably to the knowledge of this important aspect of maritime history. Indeed, a masterpiece!'
Baird maritime