Herman Moll

Dutch cartographer Herman Moll (1678-1732) moved to London in about 1678 and worked as an engraver for other publishers, such as Moses Pitt, Greenville Collins. John Adair, and Seller & Price.  Soon after his arrival he set up his own business publishing atlases and separate maps.  He developed a wide range of work covering all parts of the world and in miniature as well as large wall maps.  All were decorative.

His first maps were prepared for the atlas volume accompanying Sir Jonas Moore’s New System Of The Mathematicks …, in which Moll began to develop his characteristic engraving style, with large cartouches and often large vignettes.  This style carried on into his large folio atlas, The World Described.  This atlas contained one of the largest world maps of the early eighteenth century to appear in atlas form.  Published in 1724, the map is truly outdated, showing California as an Island long after subsequent explorations around the turn of the century proved it to be a peninsula.  In spite of the evidence to the contrary, Moll is now famous for perpetuating the myth.

His map New and Exact Map of the Dominions of the King of Great Britain on ye Continent of North America, depicting the English colonies along the east coast is his best known.  The map is popularly called the “Beaver Map”, after the attractive vignette scene showing beavers building dams.

Moll’s other works include the Atlas Manuale (1709), New and Complete Atlas (1719), the Atlas Minor (1729) and Atlas Geographus (1711-17) in five volumes.

Moll also published a fine series of county maps, in the New Description of England, published in 1724.  The maps are famous for their side panels with drawings of architectural remains from the counties.  His work was much copied by other publishers and he enjoyed a high reputation.

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