Friday, May 24, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Friday, May 24, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Older Baltic Sea maps donated to Swedish libraries

Published 5 November 2023
- By Editorial Staff
Map of Karlskrona's ports and dams, made by the cartographer Fleurieu.

Nine maritime atlases from the period 1695-1850 are being donated from Björn Carlson’s map collection to the Royal Library, Lund University Library, and Gothenburg University Library. This means that the maps will be available to both researchers and the general public.

The donation consists of cartological works from Swedish, Russian, and French authors depicting the Baltic Sea. The oldest work is Petter Gedda’s maritime atlas from 1695, and the newest is a so-called English composite atlas, which is an atlas composed of maps from multiple authors, from the mid-19th century produced by the British Admiralty.

– Lund University Library greatly values this donation of material that previously lacked in our collection. The maritime atlases are interesting from both historical and maritime archaeological contexts and reveal a lot about how nations viewed their territorial waters. This is particularly relevant now, considering the increasingly tense security situation in our marine regions, says Håkan Carlsson, chief librarian at Lund University Library, in a press release.

“Particular rarity”

Financier Björn Carlson (1935-2021) had a keen interest in both sailing and history, leading him to collect sea charts and maritime atlases of the Baltic Sea. In 2005, Carlson established the Carlson Baltic Sea Foundation (Baltic Sea 2020) through a donation of 500 million kronor from Carlson. The aim was to foster interest in the Baltic Sea. The assets of the foundation have funded projects that promote engagement in the Baltic Sea, and since 2020, an annual award is given to researchers and others who have made valuable contributions to the environment.

All the atlases in the donation are rare, and one of them is of particular rarity, the Neptune du Cattegat et de la Mer Baltique Recueil. The cartographer Fleurieu died before it could be printed, but his assistant had 30 copies printed. In our older catalog, there has long been a note that we lack this unique atlas, says Greger Bergvall, librarian and expert on the Royal Library’s map collections.

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