London. [ circa 1673]
A VERY SCARCE SURVIVAL OF AN EARLY ENGLISH GLOBE
The 14” globe is 21in. (53cm.) high and comprises twelve hand-coloured engraved gores and two polar calottes, supported in graduated brass meridian ring, fitting in horizon ring with engraved calendrical scales, the stand with four turned supports and bun feet.
The cartouche with a second dedication to the Reader cartouche, graduated equator, ecliptic and meridian through the Azores, the continents decorated with animals and natives, the seas with ships, fabulous beasts, sea monsters and rhumb lines; no Antarctic continent, Australia partially delineated to West and North, some of van Diemen’s land given, California as an Island, no Western nor Northern coasts to Canada, Southern Greenland as a series of Islands, China with rivers and major cities to the East of the Great Wall, peninsula of Korea, the tracks of the voyages of Drake and Cavendish are shown.
Although globes were of little practical use on board ships by the 17th century, they were nonetheless symbols of navigation, representing the world that sailors were attempting to explore. Reflecting this nautical theme, Morden & Berry have included navigational illustrations on their globe, such as ships, compass points and rhumb lines . More unusually, the globe also features the routes taken by two famous English explorers, Sir Francis Drake and Thomas Cavendish, during their voyages around the world. Successful explorers such as these were often celebrated as national heroes because the income of many European countries at this time was dependent on overseas trade, which necessarily required navigational skill. By including the tracks of Drake and Cavendish, this globe would have been part of the celebration of great English navigators, both recognising their achievements and encouraging other citizens to follow in their footsteps for the glory of the country.
Despite the celebratory function of this globe, the discoveries made by explorers presented something of a dilemma for globe makers. The authority for geographical knowledge of the world had previously been ancient texts, but incoming reports by sailors often contradicted the traditional views. Globe makers then faced a difficult decision about which information to trust. An inscription on this globe stresses the “late discoveries” and “celestiall observations of modern authors” used as sources of geographical information, suggesting that the makers preferred modern evidence to texts from antiquity. In this respect, the globe makers were perhaps influenced by the general intellectual trend in 17th century England to value experience and observation over ancient sources. This was a characteristic of the Royal Society, a prominent English scientific society founded in the 17th century, the work of which was certainly known to our globe makers.
Dunn, R. & Wallis, H. British globes up to 1850 (London, 1999).
Stephenson, E.L. Terrestrial and Celestial Globes (Yale, 1921).
The World in Your Hands: an Exhibition of Globes and Planetaria (London, 1994).
Not in Van Der Krogt. Old Globes in the Netherlands