Exhibition Map of Kingdom of Bohemia, 1720
The exhibition was produced by the director of the Geographical Library, PhDr. et Mgr. Eva Novotná, in collaboration with the Department of Geography, Map Collection and Geographical Library.
Entry is free.
The exhibition presents the life and works of cartographer Johann Christoph Müller (1673-1721), who produced the so called large map of Bohemia under the title Mappa geographica Regni Bohemiae 300 years ago.
While his predecessors worked on Czech maps mostly on their own private initiative, Müller was commissioned to do so on the basis of the imperial patent issued by Emperor Charles VI (1712).
Müller first mapped Hungary (1698-1699, 1706, 1708-1709), then Moravia (1708-1712) and in 1712 he began his life's work, a large map of the Bohemian Kingdom.
He finished the work in 1718 and further corrections lasted the next two years. He divided the map into 25 parts in scale of 1: 132 000 and supplemented it with a general map. Manuscript documents related to mapping Czech regions have been preserved in Vienna.
While Müller's predecessors described around a thousand settlements (P. Aretin 1 200 and M. Vogt 3 500), Müller described 12 500. He verified the names in the domesday books, but also with local officials. Their approach to his work was higly reserved as the officials were afraid of possible duties associated with the supply of the army. 48 map symbols indicate not only towns, villages and monasteries, but also mines, glass works, mills, etc. He also depicted and lettered a large number of mountains still marked by the "small hill method". Watercourses and ponds are depicted in detail as well.
The mapping of the regions was carried out gradually. He worked with a compass and a device called a viatorium, which was attached to a travelling carriage. The measured distance depended on the number of rotations and circumference of a wheel. He probably took the geographical coordinates from the existing tables.
The map also showed changes in the land establishment, when in 1714 the country was divided into 12 regions.
After the completion of the work in 1720, the Bohemian estates commissioned Michael Kauffer, a master of Augsburg, to engrave it. Ornaments decorating the corners of the map were entrusted to the painter Václav Vavřinec Reiner, who was the star of the Czech Baroque sky. In the corners he created an impressive view of Hradčany with a stone bridge and the Vltava river under the protection of the Virgin Mary with Jesus and St. Wenceslas. In another parergon, he captured the impressive personification of Czech rivers with amphorae and Czech agriculture. Around the map legend he placed symbols of the country's industry, glass works and mines. Finally, in the last quarter, around the title cartouche, he painted the seasons of the year with vineyards, hop gardens and a hunting scene.
The work was engraved and published in 1722. However, Müller did not live to see it as he died yet in 1721 (aged 48), as a result of exhaustion from constant terrain measuring. Lieutenant Johann Wolfgang Wieland then continued his work.
First he completed the revisions of the printing plates of the large map and then he reduced the work to a medium map in the scale of 1: 231 000.
This was in great demand as the so-called large map of Bohemia was very expensive, especially after the rumors of the destruction of the original printing plates spread. In fact, the matrices of both maps, large and medium, have been preserved and are now stored in the National Technical Museum in Prague. In 1934, they were even used for creating new prints for the edition of old maps published by the Geographical Institute of Charles University under the title Monumenta cartographica Bohemiae. This edition, which is still regarded as an unbeatable standard by historical cartographers, was led by professors Václav Švambera and Bedřich Šalamon.
In addition to the large and medium map, the exhibition will also present a map of Cheb and its manuscript from 1714, when Müller was to survey the border area.
Müller's large map was a secret. Although the emperor gave his consent to free sale, until 1805 its sale was controlled and authorized only by the provincial presidium.
Müller's map was then used for nearly another 100 years. After the Seven Years' War (1756-1763), another measurment was started. Müller's map, enlarged to a scale of 1 : 28 800, became the basis for the First Military Survey (1764-1767). The officers depicted roads, bridges and especially the land borders into it, using the "á la vue" method (i.e., simply by observing the terrain). However, the sheets from this survey of entire country were never released in series.Therefore, the military leaders of all warring parties used both Müller's and Wieland's map during the Napoleonic Wars. A new edition was not considered at that time as everyone thought the printing plates had been destroyed.
Müller and Wieland were the last individuals to produce such detailed maps of entire countries.
Visitors can also take a look on copies of Müller's maps from the Map Collection FSc CU, as well as copies of printing plates from the National Technical Museum. A copy of the manuscript to Wieland's Medium Map of Bohemia was kindly provided by the Central Archive of Surveying and Cadastre (ÚAZK).
In the hallway there is also a restored copy of a new print of the large map from 1934 in an original oak frame on a total area of 6.5 m2.
The exhibition is traveling and can be loan to other instutions.
An author of the exhibition: PhDr. et Mgr. Eva Novotná, firstname.lastname@example.org, 221 951 355
To make a request to loan the exhibitition, please contact Bc. Martina Musilová, email@example.com
Below you can find an invitation and also a poster for the exhibition.