The Klencke Atlas published in 1660 is one of the most famous objects in the British Library's cartographic collection, a towering book that stands nearly 6 feet tall and reaches over seven feet wide when open. For over three centuries the atlas was the largest in existence, surpassed only five years ago by Millennium House's gigantic publication Earth Platinum.
The collection of maps was named after Johannes Klencke (1620-1672), the leader of a collection of Dutch sugar merchants who presented the atlas to Charles II as a hope to gain favorable trade agreements with Britain. The object was subsequently placed amongst the king’s most prized possessions, and stayed tied to royalty for the next 150 years.
“The Klencke atlas is important both in itself, and for its constituent parts,” said Tom Harper, lead curator of antiquarian maps at the British Library in an article about the atlas. “As an object, its scale and conception recalled Renaissance ideas relating to the symbolic power of a book which contained the entire world’s knowledge. It would have provided Charles with intellectual authority, an authority which enforces its intimidating presence even today.”
The Klencke Atlas went on public view in 2010 after considerable restoration, and was digitized by the British Library just last month. It took several hands to transport and mount the ancient work onto an XXXL book stand for high resolution photography, and digitization took several days in order to capture each of the included maps. You can view this online version of the atlas on the British Library’s website, and watch a time-lapse video of the digitization process supported by Daniel Crouch Rare Books. (via Hyperallergic)
Industrial designer and jeweler Talia Sari has been producing rings, necklaces, and brooches based off of customized maps for nearly 6 years. Her works are simple recreations of personalized locations, presenting the surrounding streets of one’s home plated in 24k gold or silver. The series, titled You Are Here, is currently on Kickstarter to help with photo etching fees for the creation of the works. Sari also has an Etsy for her project, with several pre-made pieces that depict cities such as London, Paris, and New York City. You can see more cities from her collection, or create your own, on Sari’s website. (via Culture N Lifestyle)
Mini Metros is an ongoing series of worldwide public transit maps that have been “shrunken and simplified” into tiny diagrams by D.C.-based designer Peter Dovak. So far he’s completed over 200 light rail and metro systems and made them available in different configurations as posters and mugs on Society6. (via Kottke)
On a platform filled with glamorous travel images from across the globe, Australian artist Damien Rudd’s account @sadtopographies contributes quite the opposite. Rudd finds the most depressing sounding rivers, lakes, and roads via Google Maps, screenshotting and posting their sad names for his audience of 64,000 followers. Each of his finds are extremely humorous, yet beg us to wonder what series of events could have possibly lead to their naming.
In case you wanted to match your winter mood to “Despair Island” rather than some white sand beach off of the coast of Bali, head over to Rudd’s Instagram for a dose of Suffering St. and Broken Dreams Dr. (via Booooooom)
Designer Rafael Esquer of Alfalfa New York created this amazing print of New York inspired by patterns found in artworks by Austrian symbolist painter Gustav Klimt. Titled Iconic New York Illuminated, the piece incorporates more than 600 iconic destinations around the city rendered in a combination of gold and silver foils as well as metallic inks. You can pick up a limited edition print in their shop. (via Coudal)
It’s been a couple of years since we last checked in on Mark Powell (previously here and here), who produces ballpoint pen portraits and illustrations of birds and people on vintage envelopes. Recently Powell has expanded his practice to include old maps as another form of canvas, drawing detailed faces and bodies that are given texture by the haphazard roads and regions that comprise the United States or Paris.
Powell chooses to draw on paper with historical marks in order to imbue his works with a greater story, adding a deeper background to his subjects. “They compliment each other and I hope leads the viewer to wonder, and maybe create, a history for the two,” said Powell. “I rarely connect the portrait and ‘canvas’ as they are both strangers to me.”
Powell’s illustrations can take between a couple of hours and an entire month depending on the size of the surface and the detail given to his subjects. His upcoming exhibition, “Anthropology,” will open March 3 and run through April 10, 2016 at Hang-Up Gallery in London. You can see more of Powell’s drawings on his Facebook.