In my previous 'Collecting Antique Maps' post I mentioned checking that the design style of the cartouche is in keeping with the period the map is claimed to be from. If you're looking to buy a sixteenth century map say by Abraham Ortelius could you instantly tell by the cartouche design on the map if the cartouche at least is looking right for that period? The more experienced you get at recognising cartouche styles the better.
Just by looking at the cartouches below could you name the mapmakers? If you can't as yet, not to worry but the more you research and get familiar with the work of mapmakers the better equipped you'll become in identifying antique maps. You'll be a lot more confident when it comes to answering the all important questions - is it original, reproduction or even fake!
Late 16C Mid 17C Late 17C Early 18C Late 18C
In the above examples you'll see the cartouche styles changing faces over time. Using the maps of just a few well known mapmakers we start with the late 16th century. Then strapwork designs as they were known were generally representations of leather, parchment or metal bands interwoven sometimes with hideous fiqures or heads. Then by the mid to late seventeenth century a more Baroque style with mythological symbolism appeared and remained into the early eighteenth century. Now however the cartouches were generally uncoloured. By the nineteenth century cartouches were often nothing more than a simple oval or rectangle as the desire for more elaborate decoration was left behind.
THE BIG BENEFIT: When you become familier with cartouche styles and designs you will notice that you can often identify a mapmaker simply on the basis of a cartouche design. Having a basic knowledge of cartouche styles from sixteenth to nineteenth century and the work of mapmakers of the period is a big benefit when you want to build a map collection. It's another piece in the jigsaw helping you identify an original antique map.
So could you name the mapmakers? Late 16thC Mercator, Mid 17thC Blaeu, Late 17C Speed, Early 18thC Seutter and Late 18thC Bowen.