The Queen Mary Atlas Limited Edition Folio Society 2005


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The Queen Mary Atlas

One of the most beautiful series of maps ever made, this was commissioned by Queen Mary Tudor (England) as a gift to her beloved husband King Philip II of Spain. Holding a crucial place in the history of map-making, this is a remarkable portrait of the Renaissance world. This spectacular manuscript atlas is one of the most outstanding cartographic works of the sixteenth century. A prized possession of the British Library, The Queen Mary Atlas is one of the most remarkable manuscripts in the history of map-making, marking the move from the medieval world view to the more rational approach of the Renaissance. This atlas is held in the British Library under the shelfmark Add. MS. 5415-A.

Commissioned by Mary Tudor, the renowned Diogo Homem created maps of a world dominated by Spain and Portugal to interest Mary’s husband, Phillip II of Spain. The stories depicted are a great part of the maps’ charm and the combination of revelatory detail and exquisite decoration make the Atlas as historically important as it is beautiful. The atlas is composed of nine different maps and charts, showing a strong influence from southern European nautical charts. Nevertheless, it is believed that the atlas is incomplete, that it originally contained fourteen maps, but the missing maps were lost or destroyed by fire in 1731.

There are 12 double-page maps and charts, each measuring 79cm x 57cm. Each map mounted on a ’guard’, so that it opens absolutely flat. Actual atlas is over 58 cm tall.

The leather of the atlas itself is rich, full grain calf leather blocked in multi tone and ornate gold crest of the conjoined arms of England and Spain. Includes a specially commissioned commentary volume by Peter Barber with 96 pages typeset in Founder’s Caslon, printed on St Paul’s wove paper, bound in buckram, and 12˝ x 7½˝. All contained in a solander box (clamshell case) bound in red buckram.

Limited to just 1,000 hand numbered copies.


  • Folio Society Limited Edition No. 457 of 1,000 numbered copies
  • Publisher Folio Society, London; 2005
  • Full Grain Calf Leather Hardback
  • Superbly Illustrated in Full Colour
  • Size 620 x 430mm, 10kg

Condition: Near Fine – Small Bump To Top Of Solander Box, Atlas Is A Superb Unmarked Copy

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Additional information

Weight 10 kg


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