Wall Map of the World in 2 Hemispheres: copper engraving printed on 8 large joined sheets, with modern hand colour, engraved pastedown title (Very Good, strong engraving impression), diameter of each hemisphere: 124 cm (49 inches); total measurements: 137 x 246 cm (54 x 97 inches).
This colossal, arresting production is a double-hemisphere map of the World produced for the court of King Ferdinando II of the Two Sicilies, constructed by the state engineer Raffaele Mancini and printed in Naples. It grants a panoptic view of the globe as it appeared during the 1830s, a time of great transition and development, particularly in the Americas, Africa and Oceania. A sumptuous, expensive production, it was issued in only a very small print run, and is today exceptionally rare, this being 1 of only 3 known surviving examples.
In creating the present map, Mancini employed James Gardner’s 1825 World map as a model, although, importantly he updates the map with more recent details. Gardner drew his cartographic sources from Aaron Arrowsmith's 1814 World Map on a Globular Projection featuring 36-inch hemispheres; as well as maps by James Wyld the Elder, amongst other works. Mancini’s production is done to the same gargantuan scale as Gardner’s map, which is regarded as perhaps “one of the largest World Maps produced in the early 1800’s”.
Please see a link to the Garner map in the David Rumsey Map Collection:
Mancini’s World Map and the Last Gasp of Royal Court Patronage in Italy
Mancini’s gargantuan World Map represents one of the last great examples of Italian royal court patronage of cartography in Italy, which for centuries had maintained a tradition responsible for many of the world’s finest and most historically important maps and globes. The production of the present map would have been very expensive and labour intensive, and would certainly have been funded as a special commission for the court of Ferdinando II. Mancini would have been seconded form his normal duties as a state engineer to dedicate months of work the endeavor. The royal court would have, as courts before it, commissioned the map as a monument to the intellectual and technical sophistication of the Kingdom of the Two Siciles, a state formed in 1816 that encompassed almost all mainland Southern Italy and Sicily. Examples of the map would have been displayed in palace salons, important government bureaus, and were likely also offered as high-level diplomatic gifts.
While the map would have been issued in only a very small print run, it was highly regarded throughout Italy during its time, receiving praise in several influential scientific journals. Due to the immense size of the production, it is recorded that the map’s eight sheets were initially issued individually and serially between September 1837 and the early months of 1839.
A commentary in the Neapolitan scientific journal Il Lucifero from September 1837 is indicative of the high regard in which Mancini’s map was held in the right circles:
“We have announced other times that the talented engineer of the Real Officio Topografico sig. Mancini has learned to reproduce between us the great planisphere of the distinguished English geographer Mr. Gardner, magnificent work and perhaps the best among those of this nature were seen in the London institution. Nor is Mr. Mancini has contented himself with imitating him only, but with diligent and arduous care he has perfected it by adding new discoveries and making corrections and improvements that make the Neapolitan copy more valuable than the English original. Now "the four first sheets, which include the entire Eastern hemisphere, and a fifth sheet containing the title and dedication of the work to SM King NS are already published, we must say that the beautiful work of the fine Mr. Mancini not only proceeded with an unusual accuracy in a difficult and long-lasting task, but his work is a rare example that is always improving from sheet to sheet. All those who love the smarter of things will certainly find That they are paid to see this very interesting publication, which is an honor to the country once and to whom all its care is dedicated to it indefatigably.” (Il Lucifero Gionale Scientifico, Letterario, Artistico, Industriale, no. 31 (Naples, September 11, 1839)), p. 248.
The Mancini Map in Focus
Mancini’s monumental map succeeds in presenting a wealth of information with crisp clarity, aided by especially fine copper engraving. Coastlines and rivers are finely delineated, while mountains are expressed though delicate hachures. Impressively, throughout the map, Mancini has painstakingly translated the toponymy into Italian nomenclature. As previously noted, while much of the geographical detail is taken from Gardner’s 1825 map, Mancini has updated the work in many key areas.
The depiction of the Americas is conventional for the time and presents the New World on the eve of major political change. The Eastern United States is shown divided onto various states and territories, with the lands beyond the Mississippi River and before the Rockies is labelled the ‘Stato de Missouri’ (Missouri Territory). While the areas to the east of the Rocky Mountains are relatively well known, the interior areas beyond are largely conjectural, captured before the great expeditions of the 1840s and 1850s.
The American Southwest is shown to be a part of the Mexican republic. Texas is clearly labeled, and features the settlements of San Antonio and Nacogdoches, and is still shown to be a part of Mexico. While Texas declared its independence in 1836, this status was not internationally recognized. Further west, ‘Nuovo Messico’ is featured, labeling Santa Fe, Albuquerque and Taos.
Further west, the map features a fine depiction of what is today the state of California, as ‘Nuova California’ (New California), then a sparsely populated Mexican province, labeling several missions and presidios from San Francisco down to San Diego, including the capital ‘S. Carlo de Monterey’ (Monterey).
Northwards, most of the Pacific Northwest is shown to be part of the Oregon Country, which from 1827 to 1846 was territory jointly held by the United States and Britain, although here all of the lands south of the Fraser River, plus Vancouver Island, are shown to be exclusively American Territory (the region would later be divided between the U.S. and Britain in 1846). Alaska is shown to be ‘America Russa’ (Russian America), and its boundary with British Territories is as demarcated by the 1825 Anglo-Russian treaty line, although the interior of Alaska and the Yukon is labelled as ‘Contrada non Esplorata’.
The coverage of Canada is quite detailed, with the geography of the West incorporating knowledge from recent discoveries, while numerous Hudson’s Bay Company forts are labeled throughout the interior and the mid-north. The Canadian Arctic is only partially known, with many areas either of nebulous shaps, or left entirely blank, although the map features numerous notes with respect to the discoveries of major explorers, such as Parry and Franklin. ‘Canada Alto’ (Ontario) and ‘Canada Basso’ (Quebec) are labelled, while the prior still refers to Toronto as ‘York’.
Mexico is shown divided into its various states, while all the islands of the West Indies are carefully labeled.
The depiction of South America is highly detailed, with all the major rivers of the Amazon Basin being carful delineated. The continent is divided into various nations including: ‘Brasile’ (Brazil), ‘Argentina’, ‘Chile’, ‘Peru’ and ‘Colombia’ (the former Gran Colombia), which in 1831 was divided into the independent republics of ‘Nuova Granata’ (Colombia), ‘Venezuela’ and Ecuador (although this division was not universally recognized until 1845). The nations are further divided into various provinces and states.
In the southernmost Atlantic Ocean, beyond Patagonia, are the Falkland Islands; South Georgia; and the track of James Weddell’s 1823 voyage, whereupon he attained the southernmost point ever reached at 74°15’S.
Europe is shown with its post-Vienna Congress boundaries, with Russia controlling much of Poland and all of Finland; a large Habsburg Empire; and much of Southeast Europe being Ottoman Europe. Notably, Mancini updates the map to depict ‘Belgio’ (Belgium), which declared its independence from the Netherlands in 1830.
The depiction of Africa is quite interesting. North Africa is shown divided into various countries and Ottoman provinces; along with a detailed portrayal of Egypt’s Nile Valley. The supposed headwaters of the Nile rises the mythical ‘Mti. della Luna’ (Mountains of the Moon), while to the east are the highlands of ‘Abissinia’ (Ethiopia), home to the holy city of Axum.
Mancini adds much new detail in the interior of West Africa and the Sahara, including recent explorations in the Niger Basin and the vicinity of the fabled city of Timbuktu. Caravan routes are shown to traverse the deserts between Mali and the Mediterranean. The map features detailed depictions of South Africa, coastal East Africa and Madagascar; however, beyond that, most of the interior of Africa is unknown and largely left blank, well before the groundbreaking explorations of Livingston and Stanley, etc.
The details within the vast expanse of Asia are quite engaging. The Near and Middle East feature the sanjaks of the Ottoman Empire, while the Arabian Peninsula is traversed by the tracks of pilgrimage routes leading to the holy city of Mecca. ‘Gerusalemme’ (Jerusalem) appears in the Holy Land, while the map also labels the ruins of the ancient cities of ‘Palmira’ (Palmyra, Syria); ‘Babilonia’ (Babylon, Iraq) and ‘Persepoli’ (Persepolis, Iran).
The Indian Subcontinent is shown to be dominated by British India, while in Southeast Asia is labeled Bangkok, in the ‘Regno de Siam’, and ‘Sincapura’ (Singapore, which was founded in 1819). The Chinese Empire is rendered large, and includes its tributary states, extending deep into Central Asia. Korea assumes the shape of an overly elongated peninsula that is had on maps of the era, whole Japan is very well formed, save for the northern extremities of Hokkaido. China is still shown to control the entire Amur Valley (before Russia acquired the Primorsky Krai in 1860), while Russian interests in Far East are confined to the Okhotsk region and Kamchatka.
The depiction of Australia features a lengthy textual note on its discovery and its early exploration, and is shown with almost the entirety of its coastlines carefully mapped, following the surveys of Matthew Flinders. Conversely, the interior is almost completely unknown, save for some minor forays into the interior of New South Wales. Much of the coastal areas are entirely undeveloped and still carry their old explorers’ names, such as ‘Terra di Witt’ and ‘Terra di Flinders’. The map marks European settlements in only the ‘Sidney’ (Sydney) region and in Tasmania, where ‘Launceston’ and ‘Hobart Town’ are labeled. Further north, the Brisbane River is noted as having been discovered in 1823. New Zealand is well charted, shown shortly before it was first settled by the British, with the North and South islands still assuming their Maori names.
The Pacific Ocean is dotted with fascinating details, labeling numerous islands, many with the names and dates of the first Europeans to encounter them. For example, the Hawaiian Islands are labeled as having been discovered by Cook in 1778. While most of the islands in the Pacific had by this time been mapped with certainty, the vast expanse still features a number of apocryphal islands. It would be some years before the entire Pacific Ocean was charted with certainty.
Raffaele Mancini: Enterprising Neapolitan Cartographer
The creator of the present map, Raffaele Mancini was born in Picinisco, near Caserta (Campania) in 1792. He joined the army of the Two Sicilies at a young age and was trained as military engineer. He subsequently joined the kingdom’s Officio Topograpfico, where he played major role in the surveys leading to the production of the Carta topografica ed idrografica dei contorni di Napoli levata per ordine di S. M. Ferdinando I, Re del Regno delle Due Sicilie, dagli uffiziali dello Stato Maggiore e dagl'ingegneri topografi negli anni 1817, 1818, 1819, disegnata, ed incisa nell'Officio Topografico di Napoli (Naples, ), a massive 15 sheet map of Naples and environs. He subsequently authored an itinerary book of Molise, Quadro delle distanze milliarie tra ciascuna delle comuni della provincia di Molise (Naples, 1828).
Mancini’s greatest work was certainly the present World Map, which would have taken him many months of labour spread over several years, supported by a sizeable subsidy from Ferdinando II’s court. The map made Mancini quite well renown across Italy, for it was advertised in numerous newspapers and journals. Mancini died in Naples in 1842.
Ferdinando II: An Intellectually Curious Tyrant
Ferdinand II of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (1810 – 1859, ruled 1830-59), the ruler who commissioned the present map, was one of the most controversial Italian leaders of the 19th Century. He came to the throne in 1830, at the age of 20, and was initially a highly popular ruler known for his liberal views and the ease with which he interacted with working class people. He enacted as series of enlightened laws that reformed public finances and made the justice system more transparent and fair. He devised programmes that improved the material well-being of his common subjects, and supported infrastructure projects such as building the first railway in Italy and establishing a telegraph line between Naples and Palermo.
However, in 1837, when protesters called for the king to enact a liberal constitution, something snapped. Ferdinando II crushed the demonstrations with gratuitous violence. He then created a police state, terrorizing not only political troublemakers, but perfectly innocent people who had no role in events. The king became hugely unpopular, with only a loyal coterie of royalist diehards supporting his regime.
The present map, with its nod to the great Italian tradition of court sponsorship of monumental cartography seems to have been a holdover of the enlightened sentiment of Ferdinando II’s youth.
In 1847, violent riots broke out in Messina and Reggio di Calabria calling for liberal reforms. These demonstrations were brutally crushed by the military. Anti-Royalist sentiment was now rife, and the Pan-European Revolutions of 1848 found fertile ground in the Two Siclies. The street revolutionaries were backed by most of the kingdom’s intellectuals, and it was not long before riots in Palermo, in January 1848, spread across Sicily, removing all royal authority from the island. The revolution was sparked on the mainland in Salerno, just south of Naples, and soon spread northwards.
Within a whisker of losing his entire kingdom, Ferdinando II reluctantly relented and granted a semi-liberal constitution, modelled upon the 1830 French constitution. This briefly paused the rebellion, but a dispute over the constitution’s implementation soon caused the hostiles to resume.
For a while the revolution looked as if it would succeed. In April 1848, the island of Sicily declared its independence, under the rule of Ruggeru Sèttimu, while the king lost control of his mainland possessions, and was for time forced into exile in Gaeta, as a guest of Pope Pius IX.
However, Ferdinando II managed to assemble an army of 20,000 professional troops, while the rebels were poorly led and disorganized. The royal army crushed the revolution on the mainland, before landing on Sicily, where it attacked the liberal hotspot of Messina with “savage barbarity”. From many hours after the city surrendered, the royal troops slaughtered its inhabitants, earning Ferdinando II the name “Rè Bomba” (“King Bomb”).
Between the rebellion and 1851, Ferdinando II exiled many liberal intellectuals and imprisoned 2,000 dissidents, often in rough conditions.
Ferdinando II narrowly survived an assassination attempt in 1856, but died three years later, supposedly from complications from his wounds. The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies survived for only another year, when it was swept up and dissolved into a united Italy with the Risorgimento.
A Note on Rarity
The present map is extremely rare. We cannot trace a record of another example as having ever appeared on the market, and we can trace only two institutional examples, at the British Library and the Biblioteca della Società geografica italiana (Rome).
References: British Library: Cartographic Items Maps 16.e.3.; Biblioteca della Società geografica italiana (SGI) – Roma: IT_SGI_CASTA_325; Atti del ...Congresso geografico italiano (1922), p. 189; Bollettino della Società geografica italiana (1896), p. 230; Gazzetta Piomontese, no. 250 (Oct., 1837), pp. 1-2; Il Lucifero Gionale Scientifico, Letterario, Artistico, Industriale, no. 31 (Naples, September 11, 1839), p. 248; La Fama. Giornale di scienze, lettere, arti, in. dustria e teatri (Anno 2, 1837), p. 495; Notizie del Giorno, obervatione geologiche fatte nella specola observazione del Collegio Società Geografica Italiana, Bollettino della Società Geografica Italiana, vol. 3 (Sept., 1869), p. 524; Vladimiro Valerio, Società, uomini e istituzioni cartografiche nel Mezzogiorno d'Italia (1993), p 555.